From Managing Cisco Network Security

Cisco Secure ACS

To support your network s increasing amount of network devices that are used to control your network users connections to the Internet, your intranet, and specific devices, you can use Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS). It installs on Windows NT and runs as a service. Cisco Secure ACS is used for authentication, authorization, and accounting of users accessing your network.

With Cisco Secure ACS for Windows NT, you have a central point of access control and accounting for dial-up access servers and firewalls and the management of access control to switches and routers. You can quickly manage user accounts and groups of users on your entire network, changing their levels of security and network policies. It allows you to configure remote VPN access and dial-up services when you expand your network and services. You can leverage your existing network by using the Windows NT network and the Windows NT user account database.

Cisco Secure ACS Overview

With the installation of Cisco Secure ACS on your network, you can specify who can access the network and what services they are authorized to use. Each user on your network is associated with a profile created in Cisco Secure ACS that contains authentication and authorization information. Authentication information validates the user s identity, and authorization information determines what your users can access on your network. You can use an ACS server on the network at the same time with a dial-up access server, routers, and PIX Firewalls, and it can be...

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Products & Services
Network Routers
Network routers are protocol-dependent devices that connect subnetworks, or that break down a large network into smaller subnetworks.
Network Gateways
Network gateways interconnect networks with different, incompatible communication protocols. They perform a Layer-7 protocol-conversion to translate one set of protocols into another (for example, from TCP/IP to SNA or from TCP/IP to X.25).
Network Bridges
Network bridges connect network segments so that devices on both segments can communicate as if they were part of the same network. The centralize network administration and are easier to configure than network routers, which require IP addressing for each computer on each segment.
Network Firewalls
Network firewalls protect computer networks against unauthorized use or attack. They permit or deny access to private network devices and applications, and represent an important part of an organization's overall security policy. Firewalls may be software applications, hardware devices (such as routers), or a combination of both. They include turnkey products that are relatively easy to install as well as complex, multi-layer installations that require the expertise of a certified network administrator. 
Network Servers
Network servers control and manage network resources such as files, printers, users, groups, etc.

Topics of Interest

Summary The products discussed in this chapter can and should be used to manage your network security policy successfully. Each one has advantages, but it s important to use the correct application...

Introduction Authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) provide the required framework to configure access control. This chapter will give an overview of the AAA mechanisms provided on the...

Introduction The use of user-level security is becoming increasingly popular. This type of security enables us to develop and enforce policies on a per-user basis. Seldom is a network designed to be...

Introduction The frequency and complexity of network security-related incidences has increased dramatically in recent years. Additionally, network infrastructure and services have grown larger and...

Introduction Cisco PIX firewalls offer world-class security and high levels of performance and reliability. They are a mature product, having been a part of enterprise and service provider networks...