Network administrators have the challenge of ensuring that computers that connect to a private network are healthy. For example, healthy computers have the correct security software installed (such as antivirus protection), the current operating system updates, and the correct configuration (such as host-based firewalls enabled). This challenge is made daunting by the portable nature of laptop computers that can roam to various Internet hotspots and other private networks and the use of remote access connections made from home computers. If a connecting computer is not healthy, it can expose the private network to attacks by malicious software such as network-level viruses and worms.
The Network Access Protection (NAP) platform for Windows Server™ Vista provides components and an infrastructure that help administrators validate and enforce compliance with policies for network access:
- Centrally configure a set of policies that specify system health.
- Verify system health before allowing access to the private network or to private network resources.
- Isolate unhealthy computers on a restricted network containing resources to return the unhealthy computer to a healthy state.
Great stuff and it's never too early to look at the next generation of security tools! Be prepared...