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Access Control with Cisco TrustSec: Moving from “IP Addresses” to “Roles and Attributes”

Today’s enterprise is a highly dynamic, and hyper connected environment where IT plays a critical role in connecting the users, devices, resources and corporate IT systems. Today’s employees are also highly mobile in nature and do not necessarily have a single workspace assignment. The IT departments are constantly being challenged by the organization’s Line of Business owners to keep up with the pace of rolling out new services to address market needs, while keeping up with user expectations.

At the same time, IT departments also are responsible for ensuring business continuity and an uninterrupted service. However, the toughest challenge that any IT organization faces is implementing a security architecture which not only satisfies the compliance and industry regulatory requirements, but also provides a sufficient amount of protection against unauthorized access, data breaches, etc.

The traditional way to implement a security architecture in this kind of an environment is by implementing security rules in Firewall for traffic traversing the network’s extranet/intranet or data-center perimeters. For implementing security policies within an organizations network, Identity-Based Networking using IEEE 802.1X is generally used. Read More »

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Where’s Our Grace?

Every year in Scottsdale, Arizona, there’s a unique Information Security conference created by Joyce Brocaglia at ALTA, supported by a who’s who of InfoSec companies like Cisco, RSA, and Symantec, and attended by hundreds of some of the brightest people I’ve ever met. It’s no coincidence that they are all women because this is the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) and always a highlight of my year.

A special treat for me this year was the presentation by Edna Conway, CISO for Cisco System’s supply chain and, as it turns out, a brilliant and inspiring woman.

A few weeks earlier, after reading that Edna was to be a keynote speaker at the event, I sent her an email just to introduce myself, say “hello,” and let her know that I looked forward to hearing her presentation. Not what I expected, Edna responded with a warm welcome for me to Cisco (yup—I’m a Cisco newbie after almost 30 years with HP!) and said that she was looking forward to getting some help from me on her current focus: securing Cisco’s supply chain. Great! Love to help, let’s keep in touch. However, when she presented to the EWF audience the strategy that she’d already developed and implemented, I was humbled by what an amazingly thorough job she’d done. The other women in the audience recognized the value in her strategy as well, as they lined up to speak with her after her address, and to ask for her help at their own companies. I saw the undeniable admiration in the eyes of these successful women executives—and those aspiring to be successful women executives—and something remarkable occurred to me. Read More »

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SecCon 2013: Global and Local

SecCon is our internal security conference, which for the past five years has taken place live in San Jose. Many industry recognized experts  over the years have graced the stage, and the security community at Cisco looks forward to each December where we gather together to network  and  learn  about the new threats that face our products.  In past years, remote sites around the globe were linked into San Jose, sharing part of the speaker line-up and also giving local security people at remote sites the ability to speak to a local audience. In 2013, for the first time ever, SecCon events were hosted in remote locations.

The goal of these events is twofold: first, to provide high-quality, topical security education to those people responsible for building our products, and second, to growthe security community amongst our engineering population. We believe that security must be part of everyone’s job description at Cisco. We are all part of the security solution, and we use these SecCon events to band together. Read More »

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Cisco Presenting at BayThreat 2013 in Mountain View, CA

BayThreat 2013, the fourth annual information security conference in the San Francisco South Bay, will be held December 6th & 7th. Many South Bay security professionals attend this technical conference. Cisco is a proud sponsor and my colleague, Joe Karpenko, and I will be presenting Beware of Network: Unleash your Network on Threats and Adversaries.

We’ll discuss the results of Cisco’s ongoing threat analysis research and how to leverage network instrumentation as critical incident response components that will help protect your network infrastructure, proprietary and customer information, servers, clients, and users. Network instrumentation is the basis of many of our incident response recommendations and ideally should be implemented while we are preparing to respond to incidents, not in the middle of one. Once we’ve instrumented the network we can leverage the information it provides to gain insight into and quickly respond to threats.

The full list of presenters for the two day conference is here. Please join us and all of the other attending security professionals on December 6 & 7, 2013 at the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, CA for BayThreat 2013!

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Security: Front and Center at Cisco Live Cancun 2013

This year I was honored to be able to present and participate at Cisco Live Cancun, which took place last week. Many attendees from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean came to discover innovative ways that networking technologies can help them reach new markets and understand which solutions are right for their specific challenges.

Security was a hot topic this year!

Customers were able to connect with numerous experts for guidance and advice on security IT challenges that their company may be facing. Maintaining an appropriate security posture in “Bring Your Own Device” (BOYD) environments can be a challenge. This year I delivered a presentation about BYOD Security and Cisco’s TrustSec in an 8 ½ hour session titled “Bring Your Own Device – Architectures, Design and Operation” (TECRST-2020). Implementing BYOD requires a comprehensive solution that ensures the security and reliability of the network while enhancing user experience and productivity. The exponential growth of consumer devices and the need to maintain continuous connectivity to corporate and Internet resources has brought new challenges to corporate networks. Network managers struggle to provide adequate connectivity to employees while protecting corporate data. This session focused on the architecture and framework required to deploy the proper network infrastructure, security components and device management to support different endpoints, each with unique permissions into the network. A combination of lectures and live demos provided the information needed for customers to build an effective BYOD solution. The latest Cisco Validated Design guide (CVD) 2.5 for BYOD was covered highlighting different BYOD use cases, including TrustSec, converged access and the integration with Mobile Device Managers (MDM) to receive device posture information. Read More »

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