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Cisco Live! Milan Session Videos and Documents Now Available!

Cisco-Live_resizeIf you were unable to attend Cisco Live! Milan, or weren’t able to attend all the sessions that interested you, Cisco has made the session videos and PDFs available on the Cisco Live! website. More videos are being added daily and all should be available by February 22, 2014.

The Cisco Live! website maintains a large on-demand library with presentations and video recordings from Cisco Live! events hosted from 2011 to present. After registering, anyone can view the presentations and embedded videos at their leisure. Your Cisco Live! account is not tied to your Cisco.com account, so those credentials will not work!

Exciting new announcements are made regularly at Cisco Live! In Milan, Chris Young, Senior Vice President of Cisco Security, took the opportunity to share that Cisco was opening up it’s TrustSec capabilities to other vendors. In his blog post, Kevin Regan highlights what this means to the community. Read More »

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Summary: Tackling Mobile Security Risks for Government

As mobility becomes more pervasive, these concepts of cyber crime have become engrained in our work/life culture. These issues have earned national news headlines as governments across the globe grapple with how to build both secure and mobile-enabled infrastructures.

A few weeks ago, Cisco and Mobile Work Exchange released findings from a self-assessment tool that highlights some interesting statistics, enabling us to better understand mobile security best practices and vulnerabilities. The report specifically looks at government employees, 90 percent of whom claim to use at least one mobile device for work, and reveals that many government workers (41 percent) are putting themselves and their agencies at risk. Read More »

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Dynamic Detection of Malicious DDNS

 

This post was co-authored by Andrew Tsonchev.TRAC-tank-vertical_logo-300x243

Two weeks ago we briefly discussed the role of dynamic DNS (DDNS) in a Fiesta exploit pack campaign. Today we further analyze and explore the role of DDNS in the context of cyber attack proliferation and present the case for adding an operational play to the incident response and/or threat intelligence playbook to detect attack pre-cursors and attacks in progress. Read More »

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Can You Guess Your ROI on Your Secure Access?

No need to guess now!

Cisco commissioned Forrester Consulting to examine the business value and potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by implementing Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)—a leading secure access solution. This is available in the recently published Forrester TEI (Total Economic Impact) Research. Four customers were interviewed for this study and covered use cases for policy-governed, unified access across the following use case scenarios: guest services; BYOD; full access across wired, wireless, and VPN; and policy networking. The calculation was based on a composite organization of 10,000 employees that reflected the four interviewed customers from higher education, utilities, and financial services markets.

Benefits were 75 percent reduction in support calls related to network issues and improved compliance reducing data exposure, breaches, and potential regulatory/remediation costs that could add up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Most recently, the Ponemon Institute Live Threat Intelligence Impact Report 2013 indicated that US$10 million is the average amount spent in the past 12 months to resolve the impact of exploits. The benefit of secure access cannot be taken lightly.

Read More »

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Taking Complexity Out of Network Security – Simplifying Firewall Rules with TrustSec

Bruce Schneier, the security technologist and author famously said, “Complexity is the worst enemy of security.”

We have been working with some customers who agree strongly with this sentiment because they have been struggling with increasing complexity in their access control lists and firewall rules.

Typical indicators of operational complexity have been:

  • The time that it can take for some organizations to update rules to allow access to new services or applications, because of the risks of misconfiguring rules. For some customers, the number of hours defining and actually configuring changes may be an issue, for other customers the biggest issue may be the number of days that it takes to work through change control processes before a new application is actually in production.
  • The number of people who may need to be involved in rule changes when there are high volumes of trouble tickets requiring rule changes.

Virtualization tends to result in larger numbers of application servers being defined in rule sets. In addition, we are seeing that some customers need to define new policies to distinguish between BYOD and managed endpoint users as part of their data center access controls. At the same time, in many environments, it is rare to find that rules are efficiently removed because administrators find it difficult to ascertain that those rules are no longer required. The end result is that rule tables only increase in size.

TrustSec is a solution developed within Cisco, which describes assets and resources on the network by higher-layer business identifiers, which we refer to as Security Group Tags, instead of describing assets by IP addresses and subnets.

Those of us working at Cisco on our TrustSec technology have been looking at two particular aspects of how this technology may help remove complexity in security operations:

  • Using logical groupings to define protected assets like servers in order to simplify rule bases and make them more manageable.
  • Dynamically updating membership of these logical groups to avoid rule changes being required when assets move or new virtual workloads are provisioned.

While originally conceived as a method to provide role-based access control for user devices or accelerate access control list processing, the technology is proving of much broader benefit, not least for simplifying firewall rule sets.

For example, this is how we can use Security Group Tags to define access policies in our ASA platforms:

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Being able to describe systems by their business role, instead of where they are on the network, means that servers as well as users can move around the network but still retain the same privileges.

In typical rule sets that we have analyzed, we discovered that we can reduce the size of rule tables by as much as 60-80% when we use Security Group Tags to describe protected assets. That alone may be helpful, but further simplification benefits arise from looking at the actual policies themselves and how platforms such as the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) can use these security groups.

  • Security policies defined for the ASA can now be written in terms of application server roles, categories of BYOD endpoints, or the business roles of users, becoming much easier to understand.
  • When virtual workloads are added to an existing security group, we may not need any rule changes to be applied to get access to those workloads.
  • When workloads move, even if IP addresses change, the ASA will not require a rule change if the role is being determined by a Security Group Tag.
  • Logs can now indicate the roles of the systems involved, to simplify analysis and troubleshooting.
  • Decisions to apply additional security services like IPS or Cloud Web Security services to flows, can now be made based upon the security group tags.
  • Rules written using group tags instead of IP addresses also may have much less scope for misconfiguration.

In terms of incident response and analysis, customers are also finding value in the ability to administratively change the Security Group Tag assigned to specific hosts, in order to invoke additional security analysis or processing in the network.

By removing the need for complex rule changes to be made when server moves take place or network changes occur, we are hoping that customers can save time and effort and more effectively meet their compliance goals.

For more information please refer to www.cisco.com/go/trustsec.

Follow @CiscoSecurity on Twitter for more security news and announcements.

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