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How Secure is Your Secure Access?

July 30, 2013 at 8:04 am PST

In June, I attended the Gartner Security Summit in Washington, D.C. where I was asked by quite a few security executives, “My network folks just bought ISE, but what is ISE and what type of security does it provide?”  Fast forward to July, and I wish I had this SANS review on ISE to offer a month earlier.  (SANS, as many security professionals know, is a highly regarded organization on IT security and cyber security.) Read More »

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Securing Access to the Network and Beyond

Often when I think about what mobile means, I picture sales people out in the field, inspectors on bridges, repair men high atop utility poles. But in reality, we are all mobile a lot closer to home. I’m mobile when I check email from my backyard. I’m even mobile when I’m in the office, accessing the network from my device from a meeting room or even from my desk. Mobile truly means working from anywhere.

As employees have become increasingly mobile, their needs have changed both while they are in the office and when they are remote. And network access control has had to mature to meet user needs. SAP has been a long time partner of Cisco when it comes to managing mobile devices and networks.

Cisco easily solves the problem of determining who is allowed onto a corporate network and, once there, what they can access. Getting the correct network rights and having the ability to change attributes over time is an important area for any network administrator to control. It is a natural extension to add Mobile Device Management (MDM) to the mix for full control over mobile deployments. That’s why SAP Afaria and Cisco ISE make a fantastic pair.

Companies who have both Afaria and Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) can configure ISE to only allow network access to devices that are managed by Afaria and are compliant. ISE can then route non-compliant devices to the Afaria Self Service Portal where users can enroll their device and get access to the corporate network. For an administrator, the combination of Afaria and Cisco ISE provides a single view into the compliance status of network identity across all regions with detailed visibility into all kinds of devices management information. The ability to add contextual awareness to your access control is interesting to ponder. For example, perhaps an employee is OK to access the company network when in the United States, but not when traveling abroad. You can have the added contact to allow or disallow access with very specific requirements. Administrators love the ability to gain immediate insight into non-compliant devices trying to connect to the network – and shut them down!

SAP’s expertise in mobile device management is only one aspect of a comprehensive system. The company’s expertise in real time data management and analytics also come in to play. Imagine the capabilities you would have with real time analysis of compliance across all of your global networks and devices. You’d have the ability to capture high volume of data from all sources and translate that into valuable reporting and dashboard capabilities via a great user experience. For example, you could gain insight into overall device adoption rates, network usage, BYOD compliance, track devices attempting to connect without the proper enrollment, etc. One example that is particularly interesting is tracking data roaming – being able to know at any point in time what devices are roaming without a data plan.

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Seven Things to Complete Before Deploying Cisco Identity Services Engine

Connected devices are spreading like kudzu on the Carolina roadside. Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) is a great way to manage the devices on your network and with implementing some best practices, I can say you will save time. Below are 7 ideas that will help:

1. Find an Executive Sponsor.

Security policies can now be supported at a network level using ISE. Official IT policies around accessing information based on BYOD were often circumvented. But now with ISE, we’ve been able to implement policies that provide the right access, but can’t be circumvented. This makes it more important than ever that you have executive-level sponsorship. Truth be told, which IT project wouldn’t benefit from the executive backing? My first experience with an executive sponsor was with an excellent CIO who resembled Pope Francis and spoke like a wicked good Bostonian. He tasked me with pursuing business groups and obtaining feedback on IT process changes. The CIO called me his “Man in Havana”. My coworkers lovingly changed it to “Cabana boy” because we made fun of each other at every opportunity. The point is, busy manufacturing and software development directors found time for my questions and follow-up meetings because an executive was driving the effort.

Read More »

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Have You Registered for Centralize Policy, Control and Enforcement May 15th?

Activate the IT Transformation with Unified Access: Part 4 --  Centralized Policy, Control, and Enforcement 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013  10am-11am PDT     |       Register Now

Don’t miss the next in line of our five-part Unified Access Webinar Series  on May 15th to hear how organizations in education and healthcare rely on Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) to provide the identity enforcement and secure access control that allow employees, contractors, students, faculty, and guests (choose the user) to use their own devices on the network. Read More »

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Funny Thing Happened on the Way Past the Casino

May 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm PST


Interop was made more fun for us this year since we got to be on stage. Most of what we usually do is on camera of course…but presenting in front of people is the best.

Since we started TechWiseTV 7 years ago, we have tried to always get better at our on-camera skills. This has involved diligent effort not just improving our own skills but also how we can make it easier for others to shine with us. In other words, hosting.

It was Cisco’s Enterprise Networking team that asked if we would like to host a few stage spots during this years Interop show. Heck yeah we said. Mainly because it was a chance to ‘work an audience.’ You can certainly work a camera but what sucks is that the camera really never gives anything back.

Even the dullest audience will provide at least one nodding head or small smile. That alone can fuel an entire presentation. So we mixed it up this time. We had our A-Team for the camera crew so we were able to divide and conquer.

All of our stage appearances were quite free-form, but they did have a structure even if it was not apparent to those present. It was built around work pioneered by Marlowe Fenne. Marlowe is actually a day one veteran with TechWiseTV who has continued on his own path building bridges between customer problems and Cisco solutions. He had put together what I called a ‘MOC NOC’ for Interop. Customers were able to see first hand how their top challenges (as determined by multiple focus groups) were mapped to Cisco technologies and solutions. Easier than it sounds, let me assure you. Marlowe is such a good presenter, we were able to leave our crew with him while we did our song and dance on stage..then all Jimmy Ray and I had to do was record an intro and a close.

Challenges in the NOC: Wired and Wireless

 

Four ‘success factors’ were gleaned from these focus groups:

  1. Maintain or enhance user satisfaction
  2. Bring in projects on time and on budget
  3. Maintain or enhance security/compliance
  4. Create new business

The technologies highlighted for getting this done across both the areas of BYOD/Unified Access and Cloud included Cisco PRIME, ISE , AVC , ISR-AX Catalyst 3850 ( Fundamentals of Converged Wired and Wireless and more.

Don’t miss Bridging the App Gap where I will interview multiple Cisco customers and even Cisco itself. Fully understand all the Application Experience has to offer.

Funny Story

Our first day of presenting overlapped just a bit as Jimmy Ray was previously committed to one of his popular TechWiseTV workshops that he had to give from his Mandalay Bay hotel room. He did his usual pre-presentation technology checks to make sure all was working well. This was even more important this go-round as the hotel wireless was so bad it felt purposeful..as in…why are you on the Internet? Get down to the casino! Who knows. Well try as he might, he could not get a consistent connection wired or wireless in the hotel room.

Backup plan A was a higher powered wirelesss card that he tried to use and acces wireless from the adjacent Luxor hotel…but that was not holding steady either. So fallback plan B involved something I would never have guessed: An acoustic coupler. Fancy (but accurate) term for a modem.

If you don’t know what this is, go ask your parents…this is how we all used to get on the network. (I hesitate to say Internet). Plan B goes into action at a blazing 28.8 baud and another workshop goes off without a hitch..the audience was never even aware. Anyone else out there hosting Webex on a modem? I didn’t think so.

Thanks for watching!

Robb


Twitter: @TechWiseTV, @robbboyd

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