Cisco beefs up security software

Cisco Systems this week updated its Access Control Server (ACS) with support for the emerging Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP) for securing Wireless LAN access.

Also announced was an upgrade for security management software that allows enterprises to control multiple types of Cisco security gear and software from a single application.

Cisco ACS 3.1 now supports PEAP, a protocol for authenticating WLAN clients without the use of certificates in software or embedded in WLAN adapters. Developed by Microsoft Corp., Cisco and RSA Security Inc., the technology promises to simplify the deployment of WLAN security in enterprises.

PEAP is a proposed IETF standard and a modification of the IEEE 802.1x Layer 2 authentication protocol, which can be used to force wired and wireless clients to authenticate to a network port or access point before gaining basic network connectivity or receiving an IP address. Cisco's ACS now supports 802.1x, Lightweight Extensible Authentication Protocol (LEAP, a proprietary WLAN authentication technology) as well as PEAP.

Version 2.1 of the CiscoWorks VPN/Security Management Solution (VMS) software now allows end users to manage and configure Cisco security devices on an enterprise network, including VPN gateways and routers, IPX firewalls and Intrusion Detection System (IDS) appliances, host-based IDS software products, and integrated IDS modules in Catalyst 6500 switches.

CiscoWorks VMS 2.1 can monitor and corroborate events as they occur across Cisco switch module- and appliance-based IDS products, IDS host software and PIX firewall devices. Cisco says this improves on past security management, where PIX firewalls, IDS hardware and host software were not so tightly integrated.

Also part of CiscoWorks VMS 2.1 is an Auto Update Server module, which can be used to push intrusion-detection signatures and policy updates to all Cisco security gear.

CiscoWorks VMS 2.1 is available now for US$8,000, and the ACS 3.1 is available for $6,000.

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