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At Cisco Live London, one of my data center theater presentations will focus on the benefits of a context-aware and adaptive security strategy. This approach helps accelerate the adoption of virtualization and cloud, which traditional static security models often inhibit. Context-based approaches factor in identity, application, location, device, and time along additional security intelligence such as real-time global threat feeds for more accurate security access decisions.

Neil MacDonald, vice president, distinguished analyst, and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research has been advocating the benefits of a context-based approach now for some years as outlined in his Gartner blog. Not only does he say that by 2015, 90 percent of enterprise security solutions will be context-aware but in cloud computing environments where IT increasingly doesn’t own key IT stack elements, having additional context at the point of security decision leads to better decisions with risk prioritization and business factors accounted for. Neil MacDonald also co-authored a report, “Emerging Technology Analysis: Cloud-based Reputation Services,” which highlights the value of cloud-based threat intelligence in enabling secure cloud adoption.

My presentation will showcase how Cisco uses next-generation scanning elements to build in contextual intelligence at multiple enforcement points in a data center, which is something I consider to be the Future of Network Security: Cisco’s SecureX Architecture. For example, correlating data such as an employee who is logged into the network from an office building but appears to be accessing a CRM portal from another device at the same time against cloud threat intelligence might help block a potential data breach. I will also explain how security policy needs to be dynamically extended to encrypt user data based on context. For example, an employee in the finance department accessing the payroll must have their data securely encrypted.

For those attending Cisco Live London, you can hear the presentation at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, January 29 at the Data Center Campus.

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