Computer users benefit as Juniper, Microsoft collaborate

Juniper Networks and Microsoft are forging greater synergy between their access control solutions to give computer users more flexible but secure access to critical business resources.

The companies are providing open-standards-based interoperability between Juniper Networks Unified Access Control and Microsoft Network Access Protection. The goal is to provide users with more choice, flexibility and investment for network access control deployments, company officials said. The companies are demonstrating UAC and NAP interoperability this week at Interop Las Vegas 2007.

Properly controlled network access is becoming critical as organizations open up information technology systems and wired and wireless networks to a greater number of internal and external users.

The Juniper and Microsoft move is an attempt to allow users to leverage network access control with existing systems and technologies without locking them into proprietary architectures, company officials said.

The Juniper Networks Infranet Controller, UAC's policy management server, will be able to leverage the built-in security assessment capabilities and the Statement of Health client-server protocol provided by the NAP agent built into the Windows Vista and Windows XP operating systems.

Microsoft Network Policy Server includes an ecosystem of NAP health agents that will interoperate with the Juniper Networks UAC solution in heterogeneous network environments, company officials said.

Microsoft announced that Windows Vista supports this protocol today and Windows Server 2008 and Windows XP Service pack 3 will support it later this year.

In addition, Microsoft announced that it has contributed NAP's Statement of Health protocol to the Trusted Computing Group. TCG has adopted and published the protocol as a new Trusted Network Connect standard.

Juniper Networks is expected to support the new TNC standard in the first half of 2008.

Rutrell Yasin writes for Government Computer News, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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