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Cisco Live USA 2013: Recap from a Network Security Engineer

Having just returned home to New Jersey from Cisco Live US in Orlando, Florida, I thought I’d share my experiences as a Network Security Engineer both attending and presenting at this year’s conference.

There were approximately 20,000 attendees at this year’s conference, which I believe set a new Cisco Live attendance record! Considering the huge size of the conference, which rivals game day attendance at some small market Major League Baseball teams, I was amazed at the efficiency and organization of the conference—from the session logistics to the World of Solutions “happy hours” and the Customer Appreciation Event held at Universal Studios!

While listening to the various keynote speeches, most notably those from John ChambersPadmasree WarriorRob Lloyd, and Edzard Overbeek, it’s clear that Security, is “Top of Mind” for the Cisco Leadership Team.

Out of the roughly 625 sessions, there were approximately 100 sessions and labs focused on security, including a few below, which were presented by some of my fantastic and extremely bright peers within the Security organization. Sessions and labs included relevant topics such as network threat defenseIPv6threat mitigation, and intrusion prevent and signature development.http://csio.cisco.com/blog/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif Read More »

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BYOD: Many Call It Bring Your Own Malware (BYOM)

It is not new that people are referring to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) as Bring Your Own Malware (BYOM). In 2012 alone, Android malware encounters grew 2,577 percent (for details, see Cisco’s Annual Security Report). Many organizations are struggling to keep up with the BYOD trend by allowing employees to bring their favorite gadgets to the office to increase productivity and employee satisfaction. However, they are also struggling when trying to protect critical corporate assets, user’s data, and intellectual property in their employees’ mobile devices. Read More »

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Miscreants and the Principle of Least Effort

Back in the old days, when security was much more of an afterthought, it was obvious that miscreants were familiar with the principle of least effort. Information security was still in its Wild West days. Managed disclosure and patching did not really exist. Most companies were just coming to realize they would need to put some effort into securing their assets. I was tasked with most of the security deployments and forensic investigation at a startup hosting company. We had a lot of bandwidth (at the time) and a lot of poorly managed servers. You could watch our gateway and know when a new vulnerability was discovered in the underground. You could see miscreants scanning for a specific service in a specific network. Miscreants had done their homework, and knew where the vulnerable hosts resided. This targeting was efficient. Sure enough, hosts would start being compromised and a few days later some sort of official disclosure would happen detailing the vulnerability the miscreants had been scanning for. Read More »

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Three Data Center Security Innovations to Accelerate Your Business

How can you get your data center off to a smooth start? At the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit this week, I presented three data center innovations that hold the key to accelerating business securely.

Ease of provisioning

According to a recent Cisco IT case study, data center provisioning times have decreased from eight weeks to 15 minutes. Security must do the same to realize the full benefits of data center automation.

Often, businesses have trouble implementing this vision because of their existing IT. The people and their skill base, the processes they use and even the technology they have implemented, are very silo-based. It is not designed to integrate into an automated, on-demand model.

There are many challenges imposed by siloed technologies when you attempt to converge or virtualize these environments. A common issue is when storage and server platforms were not designed to work together.  This necessitates expensive service engagements to build.  Additionally, in order to hide the associated complexity, expensive management software has to be deployed to “simplify” infrastructure deployments. This approach just doesn’t work. The result is increasing complexity that makes the architecture brittle and costly.

At Cisco, we believe it is important to look for a solution that doesn’t look at technologies, processes, and people in isolation. You can enable a powerful IT by taking a unified approach and working with technologies that are designed to work together. Your IT can be a service foundation that redefines data center economics and delivers performance, reliability, and business innovation. Unification is the element that will deliver that.

 Maximized Network Performance and Resilience

On a unified network, IT can ensure the highest levels of network performance and business continuity through:

• 8x performance density over competitive firewalls and up to 1.9 million new connections per second and 80 million maximum connections per second enables Cisco firewalls to meet the most stringent performance requirements

• Eliminating compromise, retrofits and disruption to network design via Virtual Portal Channel and FabricPath integration for increased efficiency

Pervasive Protection

The third innovation that can streamline your data center and accelerate your business is actionable security intelligence. A secure network can differentiate by users and their multiple devices, differentiate applications, know behaviors and ultimately confirm IT policy is aligned with business. Building trusted chains that extend from the user to the application and are uniquely aligned to business context, can ensure efficiency and security.

Learn how Cisco can help you to leverage these innovations to accelerate your business securely.

 

Follow me on Twitter  @e_desouza and discover my other presentation at Gartner in  my previous blog  Everything’s in the cloud : Now What?

 

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Identity and Device Aware IT Platforms Make Life Easier

Life is generally a lot easier when you have all the facts.  Especially if those facts are actually accurate.  Nowhere does this ring more true than in the life of an IT professional.

Often times a day in an IT shop is a lot like that grade school game of telephone where information gets passed down the line but gets distorted (or is just plain wrong) because no single player has the complete context.  This scenario gets played out everyday in the IT infrastructure where siloed operations, monitoring and policy platforms only work from the information they possess.  But that information is generally just a snapshot viewed through the bias of that system’s siloed purview.  As a result, mistakes get made, security is substandard or perhaps even dysfunctional, and everything from configuration to event management and investigation takes far longer than it should.  Net-net – time is wasted, costs increase, and many things still don’t work that well.  Read More »

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