One of the reasons I like the security industry is that it’s always changing—and right now, it’s changing faster than ever. The next five years are going to be a period of significant change, driven by three major trends: the consumerization of the end point, the adoption of cloud computing, and the increasing use of high-definition video conferencing systems like Cisco TelePresence.
These three trends are leading to a major shift in the way businesses, large and small, deploy IT resources. Perhaps more importantly, these trends are also leading to a dramatic new approach to the way security products protect information stored and accessed by these IT systems.
The new technologies entering the enterprise are redefining the workplace experience. Work used to be a place we would go to; now it is becoming a thing we do. Anytime, anywhere, on any device. New collaboration tools, particularly high-definition video conferencing, allow us to have the richness of a face-to-face interaction anywhere in the world. Cloud-based apps enable easy sharing and accessing of information. And the explosion of innovation on the endpoint means we can access our business information without friction. For companies that compete in the information economy, this remarkable step forward in the sharing and processing of information is a really, really big deal.
But to make all of this work, we need a new security architecture that has three major attributes:
- It will use a higher-level policy language that understands the full context of a situation—the who, what, where, when, and how of security.
- It will allow for consistent policy enforcement independent of physical infrastructure. (So an unmanaged consumer device can be as secure as a locked-down corporate PC, or a virtualized application can be as secure as a hardened server in a controlled data center.)
- Lastly, it will allow for highly distributed security enforcement scanning, in effect pushing security close to the end-user anywhere in the world the end-user may be.
I’m energized by what’s happening in the industry, and I’m looking forward to engaging discussions with the industry’s smartest leaders on how to secure the New Enterprise. I’m introducing this new architecture in a keynote at RSA on Wednesday, February 16, 2011. Cisco will be at booth 1717, where we’ll be demonstrating many of the technologies behind the new borderless enterprise. In addition, a number of other speakers will be participating at various events at the show. I look forward to seeing you there.