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Cisco Network Admission Control (NAC) is a set of technologies and solutions that uses the infrastructure of a computer network for network access control (NAC) and network protection. Network access is allowed only by trusted endpoint devices, such as workstations, servers, personal digital assistants (PDA) and other devices. It restricts all noncompliant devices. All access methods are monitored, including wireless devices, local area networks (LAN) and remote access wide area networks (WAN).
In 2006, Cisco and Microsoft announced an interoperability agreement that enabled collaboration between Cisco NAC and Microsoft Network Access Protection (Microsoft NAP), followed by co-marketing during the next year. Customers were allowed to use one or both technologies.
NAC also blocks, isolates and repairs noncompliant machines while suspect machines are quarantined in a designated area. Queued network guests are granted a quarantine area to work out authentication or other issues. Often, some type of credential is required prior to granting network access.
Additionally, a machine's anti-virus status may be verified, which includes current versions of anti-virus software, virus definitions and scan engines.
The Cisco Trust Agent is a key NAC component that resides on an endpoint system. As it collects security state information, the Cisco Trust Agent communicates with Cisco routers. This information is communicated to the Cisco Secure Access Control Server (Cisco ACS) for access determination. The decision is then communicated to the router, which enforces the decision by allowing or disallowing access.