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Dynamic Cyber Attacks Call for Dynamic Controls

Last month’s earthquake in Napa Valley got me thinking. In earthquake-prone areas, new construction is being built to move dynamically to withstand shocks and tremors. Innovative materials and designs sway and bend to provide better protection. But older buildings based on traditional, static design concepts can suffer devastating damage in an earthquake and its aftershocks.

It’s similar to the journey we’re on in the security industry, which is scaling to better address the harsh realities we face as defenders. At Cisco, we track this journey through a scale of controls we refer to as  the Security Operations Maturity Model, which moves from static to human intervention to semi-automatic to dynamic and, ultimately, predictive controls. I will talk more about this scale in the coming weeks, but for now, let’s focus on the need for most organizations to shift to dynamic controls.

We all know that the security landscape is constantly evolving and attackers are innovating in lockstep with rapid changes in technology. In fact, as I talk with security professionals daily about the challenges they face, a few consistent points come up:

  • As new business models are built on innovations in mobility, cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Everything (IoE), security solutions and processes must become more dynamic and more scalable to keep up with the change;
  • Further, as hacking has matured and become industrialized, the security models used to defend need to mature as well; and
  • Finally, there’s too much complexity, fragmentation, and cost in legacy security deployments.

A recent malicious advertising attack called “Kyle and Stan”, discovered by our Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group, demonstrates the challenges defenders are up against -- read their full post here. Posing as legitimate advertisers, cybercriminals contact the major advertisement networks to try to get them to display an ad with a malicious payload packed inside of legitimate software – spyware, adware, and browser hijacks, for example. They target popular websites and instruct the companies to run the ad for just a few minutes, leaving little or no time for the ad content to be inspected. In this case, malvertising victims were faced with an often-unprompted download of what appeared to be legitimate software with a hidden malicious payload. The malware droppers employ a range of clever techniques to continuously mutate in order to avoid detection by traditional, point-in-time systems.

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Revamping the MSE User Interface

As part of the WLC 8.0 release, we addressed customer comments and revamped the user interface (UI) for the MSE. We wanted to make it easier for customers using both MSE and PI to adjust to larger deployments. We also wanted to quicken the pace at which we could deliver features to the customers. Today I want to walk you through the landing page and configuration of the new MSE UI.

Landing Page

The landing page is the first thing one sees when logging into  the MSE UI. This page provides the user with a basic snapshot of system health, an easy way to launch the apps, and a quick status of the various services on MSE.

System Health

The new UI highlights important parameters like CPU and Memory usage in order to give the user an indication of the stress being handled by the MSE.

 mseui1 Read More »

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Multi-Device Data Plans: A Distinction without a Difference?

In this continuing series about Mobile Services Monetization, let’s look at so-called Multi-Device Data Plans. Spurred by the adoption of the Apple iPad and Android tablets, many operators have introduced mobile data plans that encourage users to connect these devices to 3G and LTE networks, rather then relying solely on Wi-Fi. These Multi-Device Data plans offer subscribers the ability to have a single contract that allows use of more than one device against a single monthly data usage quota. This provides users convenience, value, and incentives to buy cellular-enabled tablets and other “secondary devices”. Further, these Multi-Device Data Plan have driven higher data use and pushed users to increase to higher-tiered data quotas, according to some operators.

cisco-multi-device-data-plan

Trying to stand out among U.S. operators, T-Mobile recently announced that for a fee of $10/month, it will allow subscribers to add a tablet to an existing smartphone subscription *and* get a tablet data quota equal to the quota they have signed up for with their smartphone. So for only $10, this Read More »

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What Mobile Cloud Means for Service Providers and Enterprises

In an increasingly digital, mobile and connected world, organizations need new ways to maintain real-time contact with their employees, customers and partners. And mobile cloud will be a major force enabling these ubiquitous connections and reshaping the business landscape. The first post in this series, by Padmasree Warrior, explores how the convergence of mobility and cloud will deliver unprecedented transformation for all organizations. In the second post, Sujai Hajela answers the question, “What exactly is mobile cloud?” In this post, Joe Cozzolino looks at what mobile cloud means for service providers and enterprises.

Be sure to listen to a new Future of Mobility podcast featuring Cisco’s Joe Cozzolino and Sujai Hajela about the power of mobile cloud. Download or listen via iTunes.

The value of mobile cloud is embodied in our 21st century nomadic, hyper-mobile lives. We no longer think in terms of boundaries – between home and office, between laptop, smart phone and an ever-expanding array of devices. We have no patience for latency. Our offices are wherever we are at the moment we need to connect with a colleague or customer, and the device we use is whatever is at hand. Making that happen is no mean feat for mobile service providers.

Imagine having the power of your office in the palm of your hand no matter where you are. Your business applications, your files, directories and chat logs. Everything when you need it, where you need it. It won’t matter what device you’re using or what type of network you’re on. You will move seamlessly from 3G to 4G to WiFi.

Mobile Cloud #4 image

So there you are at the airport, waiting for your flight and you get a call from an important customer. She wants to review the past month’s reports with you, share a file and bring in some colleagues via TelePresence. It has to be now, it has to be secure – and you have to board your plane.

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Ready for #SuperMobility?

It’s no longer a question of whether mobility best practices and policies are required, it’s a matter of when your strategy will get ahead of the unstoppable trend. Business and IT leaders alike are not just witnessing the movement of everything mobile, but guilty themselves: who isn’t on their devices for both work and play anymore?

User experience, performance, security and management are key red flags that shoot up when we think about mobile. Getting these four totems right will help organizations keep employees or customers happy and productive, while protecting the business. This is no piece of cake: mobility is a journey and you need a strategy.

Thought leaders and innovators across industries are converging on #SuperMobility Mobile Con this week in Vegas to discuss best practices and ways for organizations to tackle these key issues. We’ll be there too to discuss how to move beyond BYOD and develop an enterprise mobility strategy.

Session: Embark on Your Employee and Customer Mobility Journey
Time: Sep. 09, 2014 from 3:30 PM to 4:29 PM
Location: Sands Expo − MobileCON Show Floor, Stage 3 Read More »

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