Guest post from Steve Boutelle, VP, Business Development, Global Government Solutions, Cisco.
Cybersecurity and innovative IT solutions play a central role in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2013 fiscal year, highlighting the military’s increasing reliance on IT. In order to address new and evolving threats today and into the future, the DOD is challenged to develop a strategy to acquire next-generation host-based cyber-security tools and capabilities that go beyond current anti-malware and signature-based threat detection.
Government information systems today are more sophisticated and globally integrated than ever before, and attacks are growing in frequency and complexity. The challenge of data protection is constantly increasing in scope. While government organizations have always needed to secure confidential information, changes in information technology models have introduced new stakeholders, new threats and new regulations. As a result, government organizations need to think beyond the traditional models of securing the perimeter and locking down specific segments of IT infrastructure. For example, the risks of unauthorized access to data in the cloud can be mitigated through the use of next generation technologies.
This year’s AFCEA CYBERSPACE Symposium is themed, “Cyber -- The New Center of Gravity.” The event serves as a key opportunity for interaction between industry and government to explore this new domain that has become the center stage of national defense.
At the event, I will be moderating a panel, “Securing the Cloud,” featuring Bret Hartman, CTO, Security Office, Cisco and leaders from Lockheed Martin, ThreatMetrix and Terremark. The panel session will explore current and future technologies for addressing government concerns about new threats targeting the cloud.
By ensuring the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of critical information that flows through today’s cloud-based infrastructures, new and emerging technologies enable government organizations to reduce risk, demonstrate compliance, enhance agility and pursue strategic goals with greater confidence. This panel will be an opportunity for attendees to learn more about a wide variety of current and future technologies that address cloud security challenges.
It’s only been a few days since we said goodbye to 2012 and we are already seeing what many predicted for 2013: an increase in the creation, enhancement, and usage of numerous exploit kits by cyber criminals. Cyber criminals don’t take long vacations in December. On the contrary, they “work hard” and make lots of money during the holiday season! These criminals are continuously improving their tools to keep up with us (the good guys) and continue enhancing their “money-making machines.” A real-life example is how cyber criminals were able to quickly incorporate the exploits of the recently found Java vulnerability that I described in a post a few days ago.
Exploit kits make it easy for these criminals because they can easily spread malicious software that exploits well-known and new vulnerabilities. New exploit kits are loaded with some of the most dangerous zero-day exploits and other features that allow criminals to increase their profits.
This week at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas, Cisco Services is unveiling Cisco Domain Ten(SM) – Cisco’s Framework for Simplifying Data Center and Cloud Transformation.
Cisco Domain Ten can be applied to a diverse range of data center projects -- from cloud and desktop virtualization to application migration and is equally applicable whether your data center is in enterprise businesses, public sector organizations or service providers. The video here describes how we apply the Cisco Domain Ten to the private cloud use case, as one example. We’ll discuss additional use cases in future blogs and associated collateral that I’ll point you to.
Born from our extensive experience over the past years in helping customers transform their data centers, based upon the many cloud deployments -- private and public, enterprise, public sector and service provider -- that we’ve enabled over the past few years, we’ve formulated this comprehensive framework to help you transform your data center and guide new initiatives including cloud, virtual desktop, application migration, and data center consolidation. The Cisco Domain Ten framework covers ten key areas -- domains -- that -- based upon our experience -- are critical to consider, plan for and address as part of your data center and cloud transformational journey, and is illustrated in the diagram below. Relating this framework to other key components of Cisco’s data center strategy, you can think of the Cisco Unified Data Center as the what of the data center, whereas Cisco Domain Ten complements this by guiding you on the how (to transform).
Cisco Domain Ten - Simplifying Data Center Transformation
Physical servers lend the comfort of knowing where your data is located and having control over access and protection of that data. But from a business perspective, there is a lot virtualization can offer. So what’s the compromise with security, and is it worth the switch to a cloud environment?
While the cloud is an “open environment,” with no physical equipment to hold data in a hard-and-fast location, there are security measures that can be taken. Understanding how your technology is being used and who would be interested in accessing stored information is an important step in protecting against security threats. It is also important to consider what type of cloud you are utilizing – public, private, or hybrid. When analyzed thoroughly, you can then integrate security controls into your architecture to view, manage, and control vulnerability and threats.
Finally, you must consider trust. How the technology is used depends on users, devices, applications, and data. Security policies and controls can be determined and installed after establishing how and why the data may be accessed. Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at Intel explains in more detail the significance of trust and avoiding security breaches.Read what he has to say.
You may want also to take advantage of our coming webcast to see how industry peers are doing to solve the very challenges Cloud adopters face. Tune in to a webcast on December 6 at 9:00 am PST to hear from Cisco UCS customers Xerox and FICO Corporation, about how and why they used it in their Cloud environments.
Last week I attended the ICCC in Paris where Ashit Vora, Manager, Security Assurance, Cisco discussed the Cloud and how Common Criteria can be used to help mitigate threats. The following is an excerpt from his presentation and food for thought on Cloud security.
More and more enterprises, including governments are moving their data “to the Cloud” in the hopes of saving infrastructure and maintenance costs. But is this at the risk of security? As both private and public Clouds become pervasive, security is going to be a major concern. Cloud infrastructure by definition has large amounts of information including proprietary information, competitive information, information of different classification levels, etc. In addition, the types of mechanism available to access the information in the Cloud, such as B.Y.O.D. (Bring Your Own Device), are increasing day by day. If the proper security mechanisms are not in place and validated, it could prove to be damaging to all users of the Cloud.