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Transparency, Transparency, Transparency, and Trustworthy Systems

We’ve invested considerable time, effort, and money in the effort to make Cisco products robust enough for deployment as Trustworthy Systems, either in their own right or integrated into a complete solution. At its essence, attaining trustworthiness is a matter of discipline—a series of conscious actions to build products in the right way, certify their conformity to prevailing industry and customer-required standards, and keep a careful watch on the integrity of the product supply chain, from initial product concept through their integration and operation over a solution lifecycle. But the most important attribute of a trustworthy system is vendor transparency. I define this as a customer’s ability to ask a vendor any question and to receive a complete, honest answer in return.

I have more to say on this subject in a video blog. I also invite you to view the Trustworthy Systems page on Cisco.com and download the newly published Cisco Trustworthy Systems White Paper.

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Collecting IT Security Intelligence Globally, Using it Locally

“Think globally, act locally” is a phrase, now cliché, because it expresses an incontrovertible and immediately graspable truth. The global-local concept applies when it comes to mobilizing globally-collected cyber threat data, which in turn informs local IT operations against hackers and criminals. Of note, data collections spanning the globe don’t appear magically out of the blue, nor can they be engineered by just “anybody.” This crowd-sourced data must come from IT operations across the world to be collected, analyzed, and actioned. It’s a 24-hour cycle requiring the collective actions of organizations contributing to a mutually beneficial result. I have more to say about this in a video blog post on YouTube.

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One Small Step…

More and more, we ask technology to play critical roles in our businesses, and our lives.  Pondering that for a moment, that dependance (versus use), requires careful thought on how much we trust that the technology is working as we want it, only as we want it, and nothing more.  For many businesses or governments, testing via FIPS or Common Criteria increases that confidence level, combined with detailed operational plans to ensure running the services after they are installed is going correctly. For many technology vendors, innovation and commitment, can help here.

Our commitment at Cisco, and our innovation, for trustworthiness have never been stronger than they are today.  Nearly 5 years ago, we started down a road which ultimately led to Cisco’s Secure Development Lifecycle (CSDL), and in our most recent FY12 SEC 10-K, acknowledged that work, our secure supply chain work, and our innovation efforts for Secure Boot and Anti-Tamper.  For reference, that 10K, or 2012 Annual Report, is posted here: http://investor.cisco.com/

We foresaw the need for trustworthiness by listening to our customers, and we started early.  Early results are in, and we’ve both reduced externally found security flaws, as well as increased the resiliency for multiple products anti-tamper.  Have we done it on every product? Not yet, although rest assured, that’s exactly where we are going. I’ll keep you posted.

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Does Virtualization Improve Security?

We all know that the virtualization and cloud megatrend is a game changer for data centers, leading to profound shifts in everything from IT services and business models to architectures. Business benefits include reduced capital investments, new revenue growth opportunities, and the greater efficiency, agility and scalability demanded by globalization.

Enterprises have held back from making the transition to virtual and cloud environments primarily because of the inherent security risks and concerns.

Targeted attacks and security breaches are getting more sophisticated. The Verizon Security Threat Report for 2011 showed that 3.8 million records were stolen in 2010, and 94% of this data came from servers (an increase of 18%).

As security concerns are the primary barrier to making this transition from virtualized data center to cloud, we must rethink how security fits in to these new architectures and develop new security tools to ensure the secure transfer of information.

For enterprises to confidently seize the business benefits offered by data center virtualization and the cloud, security must be seen as the art of the possible, not as a hindrance.

Watch below as I explore the challenges and leading practices for securing virtualized environments today, and into the future.

Please join me also for  a special webcast  “Defending the Data Center “ today at 10:00 am PDT /1:00 pm EDT /17:00 GMT -- To watch register here 

 

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Leading Global Government and Corporate Security Forward

During my 25-year career, I’ve been fortunate to work closely with some of the best and brightest, supporting government and enterprise customers around the world regardless of where I worked. These experiences have enabled me to meet with statesmen and CEOs, into open and closed-door meetings on “the Hill” and abroad, to serve as a member of the CSIS Commission on Cybersecurity, and participate on numerous think tanks, boards of directors, and advisory boards. I’ve worked and learned from leaders in private industry and global governments, the defense and intelligence communities, and I’ve always gotten after it with the goal of making a difference and producing positive results.

When Brad Boston asked for me to succeed him in leading the Cisco Global Government Solutions Group (GGSG) in addition to my role overseeing the Corporate Security Programs Organization (CSPO), I was humbled, honored, and excited. GGSG/CSPO is a great organization. Fortunately for Cisco, our customers, and me, Brad will remain nearby, focusing on our go-forward strategy for Satellite Solutions. This expanded role certainly ups the ante for me, yet it is not an altogether new one. As a member of GGSG senior staff since it was formed, and in my role leading Corporate Security during the past ten years, I’ve watched the organization grow and thrive.

In taking the helm, I will build on this team’s outstanding achievements in meeting the unique requirements of governments around the world. We’ll continue to address the challenges faced by global government agencies, defense and intelligence communities, and work to advise our public sector customers on the leading practices and technology solutions that can achieve and enhance their mission goals. In my ongoing role as Chief Security Officer, I’ll continue to oversee and work with my leadership team to drive initiatives focused on Information Security, Product Security and Government Security, with focus on crypto, advanced government services, and cybersecurity—in support of our customers.

My expanded leadership team and I recognize what a critical role we play for our global government customers. To all of you, rest assured, we will continue to strive to become your most-trustworthy vendor and a true partner—one that works hard to help enable your mission success, delivers on our commitments, and gives only our best.

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