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Implementing NAP and NAC Security Technologies: The Complete Guide to Network Access Control by Daniel V. Hoffman

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Chapter 1. Understanding Terms and Technologies

You've all heard the old analogies: Do you call a tomato a "tuh-mey-toh" or do you call it a "tuh-mah-toh"? Do you pronounce Illinois "il-uh-noi" or "il-uh-nois." Is a roll with salami, ham, cheese, and so on a submarine sandwich, a hero, or a hoagie? Likewise, is it NAC? Is it NAP? Is there a difference? What about TNC? And what the heck is Network Access Quarantine Control?

There's no lack of acronyms out there to describe technologies that are pretty darn similar. Adding to the confusion is the addition of these technologies to everyday vocabulary as used in a generic sense. Remember Xerox copy machines? It wasn't long before office workers were saying, "Hey, go Xerox me a copy of this report...." The brand name Xerox became a verb and part of the everyday vocabulary. It didn't necessarily represent the brand of copier actually being used to perform the document copying function.

NAC is faring a pretty similar fate. Generically speaking, many people and enterprises refer to many different technologies as NAC. Does this mean that they are all actually and officially called "NAC"? Does it matter?

For this book, we are going to break out the various NAC/NAP technologies into the following categories:

  • Cisco NAC

  • Microsoft NAP

  • Mobile NAC

  • NAC in other products

Let's start by looking at how a few of the vendors define the different technologies.

Cisco defines NAC as follows:

Cisco® Network Admission Control (NAC) is a solution that uses ...

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