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Safeguarding Privacy in the Internet of Things

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn,  Contributing Columnist

You can’t open a web browser these days without coming across a story on the Internet of Things (IoT), and the ways that connected, autonomous devices will revolutionize every industry. There’s a reason for the hype: Cisco forecasts 50 billion connected devices by 2020, with the potential to create more than $14 trillion in value for global businesses over the next decade.

But IoT also heralds another revolution, in the degree to which individual behavior can be tracked and analyzed. While much of IoT focuses on verticals like manufacturing, energy exploration, and industrial applications, where the massive data generated by fine-grained monitoring is almost entirely beneficial, IoT will also touch on a broad range of consumer devices. From transportation to home automation to connected medical devices, machines will be monitoring the behavior of individuals more than at any time in human history. This raises a number of serious questions about consumer privacy and information security.  Read More »

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The Continuum Approach for Secure Mobility

May 5, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

A couple weeks ago, we spoke about the mobility journey and the phases that organizations take as they embrace the widely accepted mode of mobility—Beyond BYOD to Workspace Mobility (device-focus, application-focus and experience-focus). Whatever phase your organization is in, security is a top priority. These phases can help determine your secure mobility approach but your risk aversion level will also define it. Whatever your risk tolerance, the mobile threat landscape is extremely active and clever—do not underestimate it.

The dynamic nature of mobile threats does not stop by simply entering from your mobile device but it can further propagate and manifest across the network, wired devices, virtual, cloud and data center environments. So your secure mobility approach must be non-stop, continuous and pervasive—end to end. To hinder the chance of threat damage or inappropriate access whether intentional or not, one must offer comprehensive secure mobile access controls at the access layer across each phase of an attack, before, during and after.

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The Security Imperative As Mobility Evolves

April 1, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

Editor’s Note: This post is a response to EN Mobility Workspace. Please see that post for full context.

A colleague of mine here at Cisco, Jonathan, recently spoke well to the Evolution of Cisco Mobility Workspace Journey. Like all technologies, there is an adoption and engagement cycle based on maturity and risk level. We begin at the device-focused phase with a simple “get me on the network.” Following is the application-focused phase, “now that I am on what can I do with my ability to move around without a wire and work anytime and anywhere.” And the final is the overall experience, which is tailored to the user based on who they are, where they are, what they need or can do. And one can argue the next mobility phase for organizations is IoT (Internet of Things) as more single purpose devices (not necessarily with a user behind it) move to the wireless network.

What is critical to point out is the consistent requirement (not a nice to have) for security as the mobile user experience expands. Why is this so important? According to IDC over 47 percent of organizations see security enhancements required with their mobility initiative. The questions to consider are:

  • What are the secure mobility issues today and potentially tomorrow?
  • What are the implications?
  • What is likelihood of these threats?

The top secure mobility concerns noted by numerous surveys indicate the following:

  1. Data protection
  2. Application access
  3. Lost and stolen device
  4. Rogue devices

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Engineers Unplugged (Episode 5): Data Protection

October 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm PST

In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, NetApp’s Nick Howell (@that1guynick) walks through the basics of data protection with Cisco’s Marcus Phipps (@mmphipps). More than ones and zeroes, it’s applications. Follow along here:

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns
A data protected unicorn is a happy unicorn.

A data protected unicorn is a happy unicorn.

Is your data protected? Post a comment here, or join the conversation with @ciscoDC on Twitter.

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5 Steps for Avoiding Data Breaches

These tips can protect your business and customers from financial loss and identity theft

So far this year, 369 data breaches have been reported to the Open Security Foundation Data Loss Database, affecting 126,749,634 records. A breach in your business data can come from loss, theft, or exposure of information, which opens you and your customers up to such risks as financial loss and identity theft. Most reported breaches involve stealing private information, like customers’ email addresses and credit card numbers.

A small business can suffer data loss through a variety of data breaches, not all of which can be pinned on a malicious hacker. Data can be lost when a mobile device goes missing, gets accidentally deleted from a server or computer, or when an employee inadvertently makes private data public or steals it outright. And sometimes data is lost not by human error or interference but by an unfortunate accident such as a natural disaster or computer failure. In some way and at some time, a data breach can—and eventually will—happen to everyone.

These five steps can help you secure your critical data against breaches and mitigate the risk of losing customers, intellectual property, and regulatory compliance.

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