Windows Server 2008 Controls Network Access
By Michael Cherry
Article Taken from:http://www.directionsonmicrosoft.com/sample/DOMIS/update/2007/12dec/1207ws2cna.htm
Network Access Protection (NAP), a key feature of Windows Server 2008, will allow an organization to enforce security and configuration policies on all computers accessing the organization's network. NAP provides a new level of control over Windows XP and Vista computers attempting to connect to the network; for example, it can ensure that these computers have the latest updates, which should improve overall security and reliability. However, the NAP architecture and interaction of the components is complex, and the level of protection will depend on compatible NAP hardware and software agents and validators.
Controlling Access to Networks
NAP is a Windows service designed to keep insecure or compromised home and laptop computers off an organization's network. NAP can examine Windows XP and Vista computers for compliance with the organization's configuration standards for the following:
- Security—for example, an organization can require that all computers are running current antivirus software with an up-to-date signature file
- Software updates, such as important security patches
- Configuration settings—for example, NAP can ensure that all computers accessing the network are running the Windows Firewall application and the Windows Update client.
Noncompliant computers attempting to connect to the network can be quarantined, which allows them only to access isolated remediation servers to install the required software, signature files, and updates and make necessary configuration changes.
The need for such protection was already apparent with a wave of major worm attacks in 2001 and 2002 and has become more critical as attackers have moved from simple pursuit of notoriety to active attempts to steal private data from individuals and organizations.
The Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit introduced a form of NAP with a service called Network Quarantine, which scanned computers connecting over virtual private network (VPN) or dial-up connections and measured them against a desired policy. However, the add-in was difficult to implement because each organization had to generate scripts to determine the state of a connecting computer, as well as how to handle computers that were not compliant with the desired policy.
NAP consists of two main components: a NAP client that runs on the computer seeking access to the organization's network and the NAP Network Policy Server (NPS) role of Windows Server 2008, which determines the computer's level of compliance and therefore the level of connection it will be allowed...
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