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10 July 2006, 11:21

Cisco announces takeover of Meetinghouse

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Cisco plans to take over Meetinghouse, a vendor of security software. The network specialist says it plans to spend 43.7 million US dollars (£ 23.6 million) in cash and stock options on the takeover, which is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2006.

Meetinghouse has 77 employees and specializes in software that authenticates users on networks. The software is based on the standard IEEE 802.1x: network participants send their user data to an "authenticator", which checks the data in an authentication server. Other access to the infrastructure or to network services is controlled using this information. The authentication server works with RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service), a client/server protocol. It handles authentication, authorization, and accounting for users via dial-in connections to a computer network.

Authentication and authorization in networks are important building blocks for Cisco's Network Admission Control (NAC). With NAC, administrators can enforce that systems only get access to the network if they comply with the security policy of the company – for example by having antivirus software with up-to-date signatures running.

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