Over the past month, many of the Cisco Security Blog contributors have provided their view on Cybersecurity and its implications for customer network designs, architectures, protections, and services. These, in aggregate, stress what we all know: security is best achieved using a layered defense that includes securing endpoints, hosts, and network and services infrastructures. Cisco adds some unique layers to this defense, which stems from our experience developing capabilities and solutions that meet the needs of critical infrastructure and government networks. We are applying these lessons, capabilities, and our layered defensive approach to critical business infrastructures, as well.
Cisco takes a “build-in security” approach to provide device, system, infrastructure, and services security, and is the basis of the development approach that we use called the Cisco Secure Development Lifecycle (CSDL). Our development processes leverage product security baseline requirements, threat modeling in design or static analysis and fuzzing in validation, and registration of third-party software to better address vulnerabilities when they are disclosed. In the innermost layer of our products, security is built-in to devices in both silicon and software. The use of runtime assurance and protection capabilities such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), Object Size Checking, and execution space protections coupled with secure boot, image signing, and common crypto modules are leading to even more resilient products in an increasingly threatening environment.
I attended MobileCon 2012, the newly branded CTIA enterprise and application event, earlier this month. I noticed the common theme this year was MDM-BYOD-Cybersecurity. Given the recent McKinsey report that indicated 77 percent of CIOs today state that they will allow some form of consumerization in the coming few years, IT professionals are challenged to increase flexibility without compromising security
Throughout the event, I heard many BYOD case studies with a huge interest/following in data and metrics. On this theme, I thought our own Cisco BYOD case study that we have been sharing with our customers would be of interest to this community.
Note, I will provide updated numbers soon as my peers continue to seek out the latest and greatest mobile devices here in the center of Silicon Valley.
Today, we are more interconnected than ever before. Not only do we use the Internet to stay connected, informed and engaged, but also we rely on it for all of our day-to-day needs. We rely heavily on the Internet for everything from submitting taxes, to applying for student loans, to following traffic signals, to even powering our homes.
Acknowledging the importance of cyber security, President Obama designated October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month to engage and educate public and private sector partners to raise awareness about cyber security and improve the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident.
Government and corporate leaders overwhelmingly identify cyber security and associated trust issues as one of their top IT concerns. Use of network-based technologies such as mobility, collaboration and virtualization are increasing, as are related threats. Securing business infrastructure and data relies on solutions and secure systems from “trusted” vendors, a relationship founded on the reputation of the vendor, its people, its processes and its technology.
Cisco is dedicated to protecting organizations from threats including malicious modification or substitution of technology, misuse of intellectual property, supply chain disruption and counterfeit products. As the most trustworthy vendor in the world, Cisco delivers architectures built on secure software and hardware that is backed by a highly secure supply chain. By providing trustworthy and assured network platforms, Cisco enables government organizations and enterprises to confidently secure their business infrastructure, data and information from attacks.
The verdict is in — and it is all about security. Recent research from The Economist notes that security is the top concern for mobility and BYOD. Organizations want to embrace BYOD but want control to ensure secure access to the network. Chuck Robbins, Cisco Senior Vice President, wrote a blog entry that underscores what we hear almost daily in conversations with our customers and partners. The organizations we speak to have mobility policies that range from no personal devices allowed at all (which is really not BYOD), to policies that permit all personal devices with restricted access, and still others that allow all devices with differentiated access based on the device type, user, and posture.
Some common differentiation access use cases may include:
Allow my sales force to access the proposal portal remotely from their iPads but do not allow them access to the finance database.
Do not allow any jail broken device, whether personal or corporate-owned, because there is a high probability it has been infected with malware. A device is considered jail broken when the user gains root access to the operating system, allowing applications or extensions to be downloaded that are not available in the Apple Application store, which increases the risk of malware infection.
Automatically check to see if the device has pin-lock and disk encryption (basic device security), grant the device the appropriate access. If not, it will be diverted with the non-compliance explanation.
Another interesting observation is many of our higher education customers are starting to see eight devices per user versus the three devices noted. Watch out! The next workforce has some real potential to influence the new workplace.
Stay tuned -- later this year we look forward to sharing with you some further insight on mobile workers and their perceptions and behaviors regarding security. For example, how many folks download sensitive data on their personal smartphone? Or when an alert or pop-up warning occurs on their personal device what do they do? How many engage in risky behavior? Who is security aware? If you are a mobile device worker it would be great to hear your understanding of the security of your personal device in the new workplace.
No software is immune to security vulnerabilities. The time between the discovery and disclosure of security vulnerabilities and the availability of an exploit is getting shorter. This imposes pressures on network security professionals and information technology (IT) managers to quickly respond to security vulnerabilities or apply mitigation in their network. Many organizations are struggling to keep up-to-date with the constant release of new vulnerabilities and software fixes. At the same time, they are under pressure to provide near 100% availability of key business services and systems.
As an example, every time Cisco discloses a security vulnerability for Cisco IOS Software (or any given product), network security administrators have to identify affected devices and (in numerous cases) upgrade such devices. These activities can take hours, days, or even weeks depending on the size of the organization. For instance large enterprises and organizations may have thousands of routers and switches that need to be assessed for the impact of any given vulnerability.