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Microsoft heads toward perimeter collision with Cisco

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TORONTO -- Microsoft is developing perimeter security technology that could put it in direct competition with networking giant Cisco Systems Inc.

The software maker this week outlined plans to build technology into Windows Server that checks the health of PCs entering a network. Microsoft's Network Access Protection (NAP), outlined by Mike Nash, vice president of the Microsoft's security business unit at the Worldwide Partner Conference, does essentially the same thing as technology planned by San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.

Cisco's Network Admission Control (NAC) program was introduced in November as a means to combat worms and viruses by restricting network access control. Its first phase, which is rolling out this year, will only be supported on its routers, according to Cisco, but other devices will be supported in subsequent phases.

But Steve Anderson, Microsoft's director of the Windows Server group said Microsoft is currently in "deep discussions" with Cisco. "The ideal is to bring them together."

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