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Ask the DC Security Expert: Three things to know about data center firewall application visibility and control

I recently interviewed Mike Geller, a 15-year Cisco veteran and a security architect, who focuses on securing infrastructure, devices, and services delivered by service and cloud providers to governments, enterprises, and end users. I asked Mike to discuss three key feature sets that firewalls should have today to enable users to securely access the applications in the data center. This topic is very timely as application control is quite the “in vogue” topic.

#1: Network Integration

Mike takes the position that security is an attribute of the network versus a siloed, bolt-on element. With applications delivered from a combination of the cloud, service provider or hosted data center (the on premise data center at the enterprise or the mobile endpoint), security is pervasive across all domains. Integrating security into the network fabric that is used to deliver key business applications is the only way to offer services at the size and scale of today and tomorrow. How do you approach full integration of security?  Let’s break it down.  Read More »

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Ask the Data Center Security Expert: Context-Aware and Adaptive Strategies for an Agile Data Center

At Cisco Live London, one of my data center theater presentations will focus on the benefits of a context-aware and adaptive security strategy. This approach helps accelerate the adoption of virtualization and cloud, which traditional static security models often inhibit. Context-based approaches factor in identity, application, location, device, and time along additional security intelligence such as real-time global threat feeds for more accurate security access decisions.

Neil MacDonald, vice president, distinguished analyst, and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research has been advocating the benefits of a context-based approach now for some years as outlined in his Gartner blog. Not only does he say that by 2015, 90 percent of enterprise security solutions will be context-aware but in cloud computing environments where IT increasingly doesn’t own key IT stack elements, having additional context at the point of security decision leads to better decisions with risk prioritization and business factors accounted for. Neil MacDonald also co-authored a report, “Emerging Technology Analysis: Cloud-based Reputation Services,” which highlights the value of cloud-based threat intelligence in enabling secure cloud adoption.

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How Will You Keep Up With An Avalanche of Connections in 2013?

Ask the Data Center Security Expert with Cisco’s Rajneesh Chopra

Rajneesh Chopra is the Director of Product Management and Marketing at Cisco for the enterprise firewall line of technologies and has more than 10 years of product management leadership experience in the networking and data center arena. He also has a very futuristic outlook and a great passion for solving big customer problems.

Rajneesh sees the confluence of mobility, power efficiency, and standardization as the key drivers for change in the next-generation data center and with implications for the way security will need to be addressed. These changes are particularly significant as they are being driven by end-users versus heavy marketing pushes, which can often artificially induce change. Rajneesh delves into each of these factors and the role they play in the next generation data center.

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Where the Rubber Meets the Road: The Security Control Framework

When Cisco introduced the Cisco SecureX Architecture at the 2011 RSA Conference in San Francisco, it aimed to provide network security practitioners the following benefits of a security architecture:

  • Contextual awareness
  • Comprehensive visibility
  • Scalable control
  • Dynamic adaptability to new threats
  • Data and application protection

What exactly does this mean? What does it do? How is it implemented? Which products are needed to achieve the benefits of a Cisco SecureX Architecture?

These are just some of the questions we hear when consulting with people tasked with the protection of an organization’s information and providing appropriate security controls around current and/or new business initiatives.

Around business initiatives, joint research conducted by IBM developerWorks and the IBM Center for Applied Insights has reported four information technologies (mobile technology, business analytics, cloud computing, and social business) that are rapidly reshaping how enterprises operate. This joint research has been published in the 2012 IBM Tech Trends report and security has been identified as a threat to innovation and a top barrier to adopting business-critical technology.

“Mobile technology, business analytics, cloud computing, and social business are rewriting strategic playbooks across industries. In these spaces, new business possibilities are emerging faster than many organizations can act on them, with significant IT skill shortages and security concerns threatening progress. Yet, some companies are equipped to innovate at the front edges of these fast-moving technology trends and drive strategic advantages for their organizations.” -- 2012 IBM Tech Trends pdf

With that introduction of how security relates to business innovation, the aim of this blog post is to raise awareness that the Cisco SecureX architecture is beyond marketing and that in the background, Cisco and our partners are developing products, technology, services, and learning curricula—to help practitioners deploy cyber security architectures using models such as the Cisco Security Control Framework—so that a security architectural blueprint can be in place to allow organizations to have the confidence and agility to accelerate business transformation.

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Surfing the Net: Staying Secure, Safe, and Smart

Earlier this year at a release party of Talking Back to Facebook, Chelsea Clinton asked the audience an important question facing the parents of today’s tech-savvy kids: “How do we help cultivate curiosity about content … while also protecting kids so that every kid gets to be a kid …?”

Scams have become a lot more complicated than the old standard: “I’m a Prince from [_____], please wire me 2 million dollars!”, and viral methods of stealing identities and money are more sophisticated than ever. Adults have good reason to be concerned about how publicly available their personal information is over the net. Companies like SafeShepherd are committed to helping their clients remove their personal information from publicly accessible databases. Other resources, like A Platform for Good, have been created to help teach parents, teachers, and kids about efficient online safety practices. The objective here is to teach our children smart and safe web practices.

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