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Dynamic Cyber Attacks Call for Dynamic Controls

Last month’s earthquake in Napa Valley got me thinking. In earthquake-prone areas, new construction is being built to move dynamically to withstand shocks and tremors. Innovative materials and designs sway and bend to provide better protection. But older buildings based on traditional, static design concepts can suffer devastating damage in an earthquake and its aftershocks.

It’s similar to the journey we’re on in the security industry, which is scaling to better address the harsh realities we face as defenders. At Cisco, we track this journey through a scale of controls we refer to as  the Security Operations Maturity Model, which moves from static to human intervention to semi-automatic to dynamic and, ultimately, predictive controls. I will talk more about this scale in the coming weeks, but for now, let’s focus on the need for most organizations to shift to dynamic controls.

We all know that the security landscape is constantly evolving and attackers are innovating in lockstep with rapid changes in technology. In fact, as I talk with security professionals daily about the challenges they face, a few consistent points come up:

  • As new business models are built on innovations in mobility, cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Everything (IoE), security solutions and processes must become more dynamic and more scalable to keep up with the change;
  • Further, as hacking has matured and become industrialized, the security models used to defend need to mature as well; and
  • Finally, there’s too much complexity, fragmentation, and cost in legacy security deployments.

A recent malicious advertising attack called “Kyle and Stan”, discovered by our Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group, demonstrates the challenges defenders are up against -- read their full post here. Posing as legitimate advertisers, cybercriminals contact the major advertisement networks to try to get them to display an ad with a malicious payload packed inside of legitimate software – spyware, adware, and browser hijacks, for example. They target popular websites and instruct the companies to run the ad for just a few minutes, leaving little or no time for the ad content to be inspected. In this case, malvertising victims were faced with an often-unprompted download of what appeared to be legitimate software with a hidden malicious payload. The malware droppers employ a range of clever techniques to continuously mutate in order to avoid detection by traditional, point-in-time systems.

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Cisco CEO John Chambers Statement on Marc Benioff

September 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm PST

Today, Cisco filed an 8K with the SEC on our board of directors composition which stated the following:

“The Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Cisco Systems, Inc. (“Cisco”), upon recommendation by the Nomination and Governance Committee of the Board, has nominated each of the current directors for election, and each has decided to stand for re-election at the 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, with the exception of Marc Benioff, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of salesforce.com, inc., who on September 8, 2014 had notified Cisco and its Board of his decision not to stand for re-election at the 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. The Board has reduced the size of the Board to ten members effective at the time of the 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.  Mr. Benioff will continue to serve as a director until Cisco’s 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on November 20, 2014.”

Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers offers the following statement:

“I am extremely thankful for Marc’s service to Cisco, especially as his own company is currently enjoying hyper growth and the demands on him are enormous. His infectious passion and guiding vision are crucial for Salesforce.com. I personally asked him to join the Board as I knew that his laser focus on customers would help Cisco as we navigate through the many market transitions of cloud, mobility, security, Internet of Everything and more. His insight, experience and knowledge in software and the cloud has been invaluable to Cisco. His focus on innovation, customers and outcomes during his time on the board will continue to have positive impact on Cisco for years to come. I thank Marc for his exemplary service, and am glad he’ll be with us through November, and look forward to continuing the close relationship between Cisco and Salesforce.”

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Summary: Fast IT: Sourcing Disruptive Innovation

The explosion of network connections among people, process, data, and things, now called the Internet of Everything (IoE), is the driver behind much of the disruption and change we see in all industries. It is making innovation more accessible and affordable, while presenting enormous opportunities.

At the same time, IT organizations are contending with significant challenges. Operational costs are rising as budgets fall. Pervasive mobility and an explosion in connected devices are intensifying complexity. Business users are bypassing IT to access cloud-based services while new security threats arise daily. These conditions can stand in the way of greater innovation and agility, and prevent companies from capturing the opportunities in the IoE economy.

Fast IT addresses the following core areas across IT:

  • Simplifying the infrastructure across silos and driving automation to reduce operational costs
  • Using strategically automated policy to build agility and intelligence to fuel growth and respond to changing conditions
  • Connecting the right people to the right information and process at the right time
  • Evolving security to defend against attacks before and while they happen, and to run analysis after they end

Read the full article Fast IT: Sourcing Disruptive Innovation to learn more. Full study findings can be found here.

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What Mobile Cloud Means for Service Providers and Enterprises

In an increasingly digital, mobile and connected world, organizations need new ways to maintain real-time contact with their employees, customers and partners. And mobile cloud will be a major force enabling these ubiquitous connections and reshaping the business landscape. The first post in this series, by Padmasree Warrior, explores how the convergence of mobility and cloud will deliver unprecedented transformation for all organizations. In the second post, Sujai Hajela answers the question, “What exactly is mobile cloud?” In this post, Joe Cozzolino looks at what mobile cloud means for service providers and enterprises.

Be sure to listen to a new Future of Mobility podcast featuring Cisco’s Joe Cozzolino and Sujai Hajela about the power of mobile cloud. Download or listen via iTunes.

The value of mobile cloud is embodied in our 21st century nomadic, hyper-mobile lives. We no longer think in terms of boundaries – between home and office, between laptop, smart phone and an ever-expanding array of devices. We have no patience for latency. Our offices are wherever we are at the moment we need to connect with a colleague or customer, and the device we use is whatever is at hand. Making that happen is no mean feat for mobile service providers.

Imagine having the power of your office in the palm of your hand no matter where you are. Your business applications, your files, directories and chat logs. Everything when you need it, where you need it. It won’t matter what device you’re using or what type of network you’re on. You will move seamlessly from 3G to 4G to WiFi.

Mobile Cloud #4 image

So there you are at the airport, waiting for your flight and you get a call from an important customer. She wants to review the past month’s reports with you, share a file and bring in some colleagues via TelePresence. It has to be now, it has to be secure – and you have to board your plane.

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Introducing New Computing Platforms for the Internet of Everything

There will be fifty billion things connected to the Internet by 2020. Untold new and valuable connections will be formed as people, processes, data and things connect and create the next wave of the Internet that we call the Internet of Everything.

Our ability to realize the $19 trillion of economic potential inherent in that Internet of Everything will be dependent on the applications that facilitate business transactions; enable partners and suppliers to interact; transform how users share, learn and buy; and deliver analytics derived from all of these connections.

The ability of organizations to seize the opportunity of the Internet of Everything will be determined by how well CIOs embrace new models of I.T.   The performance and security of these critical applications will be determined by how well the I.T. industry rises to the challenge of delivering new forms of I.T. infrastructure.

Today is a big day for Cisco as we rise to that challenge for delivering FAST IT.

I’m excited to announce that today marks the beginning of the next wave of innovation for the Cisco Unified Computing System.

Five years ago, we delivered Cisco Unified Computing System, a groundbreaking architecture designed for virtualization, automation and orchestration that uniquely addressed the needs of customers embarking on the journey to data center virtualization and cloud.

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