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Advanced Malware Protection Can Help Keep Defense Agencies’ Networks Secure

It seems like these days, you can’t read the news without seeing something about a cyberattack or data breach. While the digital economy and the Internet of Everything (IoE) are creating huge opportunities for value creation in both the public and private sectors, they also create huge opportunities for security breaches. With an expanded attack surface created by the IoE, cybercriminals look to take advantage of the influx of new devices and increasing network complexity. While a large cyberattack on a private company might be painful financially, a hack on some of our nation’s defense agencies could hurt much more.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is a high-priority target for hackers of all types, but especially for advanced malware creators who are seeking to steal intellectual property, capabilities and strategies from the U.S. government.  These threats aren’t only isolated incidents from hacktivist groups; they often come from other advanced nation-states. The protection of military information and network assets is a part of national security and the DoD needs the tools to protect itself from cyberattacks.

One way the DoD and other agencies are looking to better protect their networks is by using advanced malware protection (AMP) tools. AMP helps detect “bad” files as they move across a sensor and flags the files for removal so that they don’t corrupt the rest of the network. Cisco’s AMP services are industry-leading; it was named a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrants for Intrusion Prevention Systems in 2014 and improved its position in 2015. It was also tested during NSS Labs’ rigorous next-generation firewall testing and received the highest effectiveness rating possible.

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Figure 1. Gartner’s 2015 Magic Quadrant for Intrusion Prevention Systems

Cisco AMP is unique from its competitors in that it can place sensors throughout the network. Unlike most companies’ sensors, which must be attached to the firewall, Cisco’s sensors are compatible with a large variety of devices and platforms, such as switches, virtual machines and the cloud. By allowing for sensors in other places in the network, Cisco AMP casts a wider and finer net to catch malware.

Additionally, Cisco AMP tracks files throughout the whole network. For most advanced malware systems, a file is only flagged as good or bad when it crosses a sensor. But with Cisco AMP, the file is tracked throughout and continually evaluated. That means if a file was initially tagged as good but more information appears, Cisco AMP can detect that anywhere in the network, flag it, and have the file removed. Continuously monitoring files enables security managers to get rid of corrupted files rapidly – which means the network can recover more quickly as well.

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Figure 2. Point-In-Time Detection vs. Cisco’s Continuous Detection

Another way that Cisco AMP sets itself apart from other security options is through its ability to trace a file’s path and remove other files it has potentially corrupted. The corrupted file is patient zero, but CiscoAMP can find every other patient it touched to ensure the threat is completed eradicated.

As DoD networks become increasingly complex, with more devices requiring access from remote areas, the capabilities Cisco AMP solutions provide will be even more important to ensure these critical networks are secure. No matter how it is utilized, Cisco AMP can help the Department of Defense and other public sector agencies defend their sensitive information from cyberattacks. Click here to learn more about Cisco AMP solutions.

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Network-Centric Warfare: How IoE is Transforming Defense

The power of the Internet of Everything (IoE) lies in connecting the unconnected, bringing together people, process, data and things to create new and exciting possibilities. These connections are already transforming the world today, from corporate business to local government. One area in particular that has been significantly transformed by connectivity over the years is our nation’s defense.

Throughout the past 30 years, Cisco has been working closely with the Department of Defense to transform its operations from a point-to-point world to one that is fully connected. We are proud to have played a role in building the first defense-wide enterprise network, known today as the DoD Information Network (DoDIN). These networks were rapidly extended into the deployed environment, and Cisco was there helping to make that transition. Today, DoD networks are being pushed out even further into the tactical edge connecting sensors, platforms and mobile users. This network capability is critical to supporting all branches of the U.S. military, serving as the connective tissue that transitions enterprise to deployed to tactical edge establishing the Defense Department’s global IoE environment.

Modern battlespace boundaries are consistently harder to define, but IoE technologies such as sensors and collaboration capabilities operating on a secure mission fabric are enabling shared situational awareness, accelerating rapid indications and warnings, and improving real-time collaboration. For example, every element of today’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations – from unnamed vehicles and autonomous sensors to a solider in the field with a handheld decision aid or intelligence analysts in the operations centers – requires a secure, reliable network to connect a vast defense landscape.

In the garrison, the emergence of connected base environments illustrates how IoE is impacting daily military operations. IoE-driven solutions such as energy-monitoring, smart street lighting and advanced asset tracking can help bases around the world operate more effectively, provide information for better decision-making and improve cost efficiencies. The medical and logistics environments, for example, are replete with sensors that can monitor, control, optimize and automate their unique mission operations. From bases to tactical edge, the DoD will continue to adapt and refine its “Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs)” necessary to improve mission effectiveness across every branch of the U.S. military.

So what’s next?

As today’s battlespace boundaries continue to evolve, the need for agility, resilience and adaptability is more critical than ever. Similarly, the strategies and technologies required to achieve success will change and Cisco will be there to support the defense community with solutions for service members around the world. We are committed to helping the DoD build and maintain the secure mission fabric necessary for efficient and effective operations.

For more information, check out this new white paper highlighting on how IoE technologies and Cisco are supporting the Department of Defense. Also, keep an eye for future blogs that will take a closer look at connected bases and how the Navy is leveraging the power of enhanced connectivity.

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The Collaboration Evolution – A Strategy for Transforming Government Collaboration

The traditional office is not what it used to be.  I’m not referring to Mad Men, where smoking in the office was acceptable and having a cocktail in the middle of the day was the norm.  I’m talking about when and where work gets done.   For me personally, being  part of an organization that embraces collaboration, I am able to work from home, the coffee shop or the airport terminal without compromising communication or efficiency.

The rise of mobility, video and other collaboration technologies is prompting government organizations to rethink the way they approach communications. As more agencies, like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, embrace teleworking options they’ve found that their employees are happier and their workforce is more flexible and able to work around things like natural disasters or more commonly, a snowstorm.

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Collaboration Evolution: Why it’s Time to Upgrade to VoIP

Communication is key, yet too many government agencies voice platforms are living in archaic times.

As government agencies are turning to collaboration technologies like voice, video and mobility to increase efficiency and lower costs, many are faced with outdated voice platforms like Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) .  However, the shift to VoIP enables organizations to modernize their communications platform for more robust communication applications, while significantly reducing operating costs.

VoIP provides significant net savings by allowing the management of managing one unified network and no longer needing to sustain a legacy phone system. It also provides enhanced features and VoIP services that improve the user experience. Advanced call routing, image transfer, phone portability, as well as integration with other collaboration applications, such as voicemail delivery via email, voice call button on email are examples of functionality users have come to expect. Read More »

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Addressing Government Cloud Security Challenges – AFCEA Cyberspace Symposium

Boutelle Press Photo[1]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.

More information about AFCEA Cyberspace Symposium and the panel is available here: http://www.afceacyberspace.com/

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