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5 Areas of ROI on Data Center Security

As data center operations managers and business owners analyze their budgets to uncover economic headwinds, the importance of deriving ROI from each purchase and initiative is considered.
To better understand the costs and benefits of the Cisco Secure Data Center Solution, we engaged with analyst firm Forrester to interview and study one of our customer’s data center security implementation. Here are five areas of ROI that were uncovered in this study:

20% reduction in security threats
The customer noted the reduction in port scanning attacks, denial of service attacks, SQL inception attacks and others. The security team can now spend much more time keeping business systems at optimal performance levels versus reacting to security issues post incident.

25% less time spent mitigating each issue
With automated firewall rules sets, the security team now spends far less time reacting to individual issues and manually updating policies.

50% reduction in help desk calls
A smooth implementation allowed the customer to install additional security without impacting end users.

25% in hardware cost savings
With the ability to cluster multiple modules on a single hardware blade, the customers expects to avoid having to make additional hardware purchases for up to three years. Additional savings stem from having a highly efficient datacenter footprint that will be realized in terms of energy and backspace savings.

Upgrading tasks 50% faster
Built in security means that the network topology does not have to be retrofitted to accommodate security. The customer can now complete installation, expansion and upgrade tasks 50% faster, meaning that IT security teams can concentrate on more strategic functions instead.

Many times as InfoSec professionals, it can be difficult to associate security investments with ROI, but in today’s world the savvy professional will see that by doing so, it will help to gain funding for other parts of the business you have been dying to invest in.

We’ve created an infographic that illustrates these issues that datacenters face today and how a comprehensive security system can help: Additionally, for more news and discussions, head over to @SecDatacenter or Secure Data Center Trends

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Three Imperatives for Today’s CISO for Data Center Security : Why you should attend our upcoming Webcast on July 16

AJ25293The data center landscape is undergoing remarkable transformation and security is being forced to evolve as organizations embrace more dynamic services.
For instance, Gartner predicts 17.9% CAGR in cloud services usage through 2016. As such, Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) will need to consider how to secure non-standardized Business-to-Business interconnects across their organizations. CISOS will play a pivotal role in shaping the next-generation data center if they are able to act more strategically.
I call this my 3 imperatives for CISOs.

I am teaming up with my former mentor from McAfee and now colleague through our Cisco partnership, Rich Noguera, Sr Manager, Security Strategy and Risk Management at Accenture, to discuss this topic on July 16- 8:00 am PST/ 11:00 am EST

1.     Enabling IT security to play a more strategic and advisory role within the organization – today’s CISO needs to think much more in terms of establishing a risk-aware culture as increasingly the economic advantages of moving to the cloud becomes much more compelling.  Strategically speaking, CISOs must consider building or buying a cloud services brokerage that is capable of enforcing corporate security policies across the business’ varied providers.  There is an opportunity to shift IT away from being considered a necessary cost center to a department, which can enable self-provisioning of new services (with the right tools and training). But to do this, it requires a forward thinking organization with a security steering committee with stakeholders from across the enterprise engaged to ensure that security and risk considerations are factored in.

2.     Business-driven security and risk metrics  -- It is a well-known phenomenon that when nothing negative in data center security happens (for example, malware disruption, data breach), it may become challenging to demonstrate the ROI on security even though security met its purpose.  Leading organizations are twice as likely to use metrics to monitor progress and their ability to deal with future technologies as well as metrics to justify the purchase and need of new technologies.  As the old adage goes, ‘you cannot manage what you cannot measure.’ Given the range of cloud enabled B2B services, CISOs should concentrate on what matters most – who (i.e. users) and what (i.e. crown jewel data) – to the security of the business.

3.     Balancing key technology focus areas with risk metrics - As data center workloads spiral and so too, correspondingly does the volume of security data, CISOs and security teams will need to find ways to filter data to a meaningful metrics.  That is where expressing security policy in business contextual terms and security intelligence data and filtering becomes critical.

Register here for this webcast on July the 16th to further discuss these key issues and see how datacenter can enable security to be transformative. Additionally, for more news and discussions, head over to @SecDatacenter or Secure Data Center Trends

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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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Everything’s in the Cloud: Now What?

Today’s applications are either virtualized in our own data center or being hosted by any number of providers. But is our security built around our current security reality or is it living in the past? During one of my Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit presentations, I shared best practices in a rapidly changing environment, where cloud vendor hype isn’t matching our security reality. Now that everything is in the cloud, we need a strategic approach to cloud security.

 

Here’s how to make it happen:

Ensure safe data handling when working with cloud provider. Considering cloud providers are an extension of your business, it is vital to ensure how your provider handles security for storing and transmitting your data. What provisions are in place to make sure data is secure once it has been transmitted? Determine if your provider has firewalls, data encryption, and user authentication to keep your data safe.

Combat growing threats. As cloud-based technologies grow more sophisticated over time, so do the possibilities of threats. A proactive approach to security means that we enable technology like cloud-based threat intelligence to detect a threat as they happen – or in some cases before they happen. Other anti-threat measures such as deep packet inspection and proactive monitoring can also help combat viruses, spam and other intrusions. Learn more. You don’t have to be a security expert to take security seriously. Leverage industry bodies, like the Cloud Security Alliance, for guidance on benchmarking service provider security capabilities. Learn what certifications and security practices your cloud provider has, including daily risk audits. And look for ways to increase security processes when you work with cloud providers. See how Cisco can help you protect your business assets and meet compliance requirements.

Learn more. You don’t have to be a security expert to take security seriously. Leverage industry bodies, like the Cloud Security Alliance, for guidance on benchmarking service provider security capabilities. Learn what certifications and security practices your cloud provider has, including daily risk audits. And look for ways to increase security processes when you work with cloud providers. See how Cisco can help you protect your business assets and meet compliance requirements.

To know more follow me on Twitter  @e_desouza  and check my blog and Gartner presentation  on Three Data Center Security Innovations to Accelerate Your Business

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Coordinated Attacks Against the U.S. Government and Banking Infrastructure

Prologue

On April 10, 2013, a collective of politically motivated hacktivists announced a round of planned attacks called #OPUSA. These attacks, slated to begin May 7, 2013, are to be launched against U.S.-based targets. #OPUSA is a follow-up to #OPISRAEL, which were a series of attacks carried out on April 7 against Israeli-based targets. Our goal here is to summarize and inform readers of resources, recommendations, network mitigations, and best practices that are available to prevent, mitigate, respond to, or dilute the effectiveness of these attacks. This blog was a collaborative effort between myself, Kevin TimmJoseph KarpenkoPanos Kampanakis, and the Cisco TRAC team.

Analysis

If the attackers follow the same patterns as previously witnessed during the #OPISRAEL attacks, then targets can expect a mixture of attacks. Major components of previous attacks consisted of denial of service attacks and web application exploits, ranging from advanced ad-hoc attempts to simple website defacements. In the past, attackers used such tools as LOICHOIC, and Slowloris.

Publicly announced attacks of this nature can have highly volatile credibility. In some cases, the announcements exist only for the purpose of gaining notoriety. In other cases, they are enhanced by increased publicity. Given the lack of specific details about participation or capabilities, the exact severity of the attack can’t be known until it (possibly) happens. Read More »

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