Using Cisco NAC Appliance to enforce FDCC configuration


OMB has mandated the Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) security configuration.  NIST has a detailed set of configuration settings in an Excel spreadsheet that can be downloaded from 

I’d like to provide an example how Cisco NAC can easily help to enforce the FDCC security configuration for a Windows XP computer.  Cisco NAC can perform checks on information contained in files, registry keys, applications, and services.  Looking at the FDCC download package, there are a number of settings that define registry key settings.  One such setting is CCE-918.  I’ve provided a screen shot of the specific line item entry below

I will be showing how to check for this setting using a Cisco NAC registry check.  The overall steps I will be showing are listed below

  1. Create check
  2. Create rule
  3. Create requirement
  4. Match requirement to rule to create a requirement-rule
  5. Match  requirement-rule to a role

Create Check

 The check is created using the registry setting shown above.  This can be accessed in the NAC configuration at “Device Management > Clean Access > Clean Access Agent > Rules > New Check”

 It’s then just a matter of filling in the registry information match the FDCC setting.  This is shown below

Create Rule 

The next step is to create the rule that the check is assigned to.  I’ll add the new check to the FDCC rule I’ve already created

Create Requirement

 The requirement provides the remediation message that is provided to the end user if the requirement is not met.  For this reason, the information should be phrased as an informational message with directions on how to fix the problem.  In the case of the FDCC settings, it will be up to an administrator to fix the problem because modifying the registry requires administrative rights.

 Match requirement to rule to create a requirement-rule

 Next, a requirement rule is created.  This defines what is checked and the remediation action that is taken if the check does not pass

 Match  requirement-rule to a role

The final step is to match the  requirement-rule to a role so that the role enforces the FDCC settings.  

Now the Employee role will require the FDCC requirements to be met before access to the network is granted

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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.