Computer Associates is to join a Cisco programme that aims to improve security policies on host computers.

As a member of Cisco's Network Admission Control (NAC) programme, CA will integrate its eTrust PestPatrol anti-spyware software and eTrust anti-virus products with the Cisco Trust Agent, a software client that communicates the security status of NAC-enabled applications on a host machine to the Cisco routers and switches that control network access.

The Cisco NAC programme is part of Cisco's Self-Defending Network strategy and was developed jointly by Cisco and anti-virus companies McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro. It addresses the security risks of remote and mobile computer users connecting to corporate networks with software that allows Cisco routers to evaluate information, such as whether particular computer's anti-virus definitions are up to date and its operating system is adequately patched, before allowing it to connect to a network.

Cisco and its partner companies unveiled the first round of NAC-compliant products in June.

The Cisco Trust Agent Version 1.0 is integrated with the Cisco Security Agent, a software client for servers and desktop systems that provides integrated firewall, intrusion detection and content-based security. The Trust Agent collects information from security software clients including antivirus clients and relays that information to Cisco devices on the network, Cisco said.

CA is allowing customers to test beta versions of the PestPatrol and eTrust products with Cisco Trust Agent, CA said.

A number of other software products support the Trust Agent as well, including McAfee's VirusScan Enterprise 8.0i and 7.x products and Trend Micro's OfficeScan Corporate Edition Version 6.5, Cisco said.

CA will continue working with Cisco to integrate other eTrust products into the NAC framework, CA said.