Microsoft on Tuesday announced Network Access Protection, a technology that will check the security status of a computer before it's allowed to access the network.
The technology will be available next year in an update of Windows Servers 2003 code-named R2.
More than 25 companies announced their support for Network Access Protection, including antivirus vendors McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro. Other companies supporting the technology include patch management vendors and networking vendors.
According to Microsoft, Network Access Protection will provide a standards-based method for detecting whether a client complies with IT-defined security policies. It restricts access until compliance is validated and allows an IT administrator to update systems so they are compliant.
Cisco Systems, which last fall announced a similar type of endpoint security initiative called Network Admission Control, is not among the companies supporting Microsoft's technology.
Microsoft previously said the upcoming Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 will include VPN-based client inspection.