Last week at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of speaking to thousands of security professionals about the opportunities and risks associated with using Software Defined Networking (SDN) for security, which will be the underlying fabric of our next generation data centers and networks. SDN-enabled security will provide a better way to secure our most valuable applications, users and data, now and in the future.
Each vendor has a different definition of how the network is changing, and there are many different terms being used, such as software defined data center and software defined storage. Cisco calls this Application Centric Networking, for example, because we are introducing programmable APIs with a focus on distributed control plane intelligence so that applications can get value directly from the network.
It’s obvious why the networking industry is embracing SDN: lower operational costs and the ability to deploy applications and network services in a quicker, more scalable manner. Cloud bursting, which is about flexible compute in the cloud, is another SDN benefit that gives us the ability for applications to interact directly with the network in ways that do not happen today. For example, applications will be able to query the network for location of users to manage Quality of Service and deliver highly targeted content.
So why should the security industry care about SDN? As the threat landscape evolves, the opportunity is to make Security a key application for SDN. We can use SDN to build a Network-based Threat Defense System. I see three key elements to this system:
The number of mobile-connected devices has broken the 1 billion mark. That’s not too surprising, given that as we grow more reliant on our devices and mobility, we also become more reliant on the Internet to get things done, take care of customers, and expand our businesses. In fact, we see a future that is defined by what we call the Internet of Everything (IoE), bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. Yet Cisco estimates that about 99.4 percent of what could be connected by the Internet is currently unconnected. That’s pretty staggering. Imagine how even a fraction of that could affect your business—by connecting employees when they’re mobile and connecting customers and partners to keep business processes and sales in progress.
Cisco’s latest offerings are designed to capitalize on connectivity, helping to fuel small business success and pave the way for future growth.
Lief Keopsel recently discussed how the growing mobile population calls for a new approach. Cisco’s expanding small business portfolio helps customers find the right technology to meet their evolving needs—such as increasing overall productivity, bolstering responsiveness, and beating the competition. But we haven’t stopped there. We’ve recently added additional routers and wireless access points.
Ultimately, we’re developing a portfolio that helps small businesses perform to their maximum potential through offerings that span security, connectivity, and collaboration.
Security Is a Competitive Advantage Through all this, whether you’re increasing productivity or enabling collaboration, you really have to keep security at the forefront. It’s what gives you the edge. If you missed the recent blog post featuring David Lawrence from Smart Technology Enablers talking about the Cisco ISA500 Series, please listen in. David describes how the Cisco ISA500 Series helps customers safeguard against outside threats while allowing employees to securely access information remotely.
Connectivity Is Key to Productivity Check out how our newly launched products deliver greater capabilities with built-in intelligence to provide more options for getting things done and creating a more customer-centric business model, regardless of location.
Collaboration Improves Business Effectiveness Bringing together people is a key part of our value proposition. We’re helping small businesses respond to customers more quickly and cultivate stronger customer engagement and loyalty. All while lowering the cost of doing business.
We understand that making the right technology decision is critical. And to that point, we’re proud of the recognition we’ve received from Miercom. Linda Beaton’s post on February 8 highlights a recent study by Miercom. This report favorably compared the Cisco SF500, SG500, and SG500X switches with similar products offered by HP, D-Link, and Netgear.
To learn more about the Cisco Small Business products referenced here, please visit our website. Or to learn more about our Cisco Services, click here. If you’re a Cisco partner, check out our Partner Launch page to help seize new market opportunities and add value to your customers.
How are these changes affecting you? And, how can we help to strengthen our partnership?
Security and its integration with social media continues to be a topic of conversation amongst my colleagues in Security Intelligence Operations. We observe how “being connected” has become an integral part of many lives around the world: each voice has an opportunity to be heard, provided those voices are given unfettered access to the Internet. It’s somewhat like an electronic ecosystem of democracy. And like a democracy, the results of those voices participating in a global conversation are not always well understood or appreciated. I believe that this is due in part to those conversations being filtered through two unavoidable lenses: national borders and culture. Jean Gordon Kocienda provides an excellent analysis on the challenges faced by nation states. In this post, I’d like to offer up some thoughts on the cultural implications of the global conversations taking place in social media.
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.
Here I sit… In Mel’s Drive-In Diner, San Francisco, CA. I just inhaled the “El Ranchero Americano”, which I am sure to regret later, and am enjoying tunes from yester-year complete with Doo-Wop and Presley. You may ask, “Why do I care…?” Well, before this turns into an episode with Anthony Bourdain, I will let you know that I am in ‘The City’ attending RSA Conference 2013.
Allow me to give you a quick background. RSA’s goal is to connect security professionals from around the world in order to continue the growth and importance of security as technology aggressively expands. RSA started these conferences in 1991 when internet security really became a topic of discussion. Everyone who is anyone is here, from start-up companies to our own Cisco.
Again, you might ask “What’s the big deal?” I listened to a keynote by Vint Cerf, widely known as ‘The Father of the Web’, he gave an ‘If you can imagine…” speech. In this talk, he said if we could imagine our refrigerator being able to ‘talk’ to us… explore the internet for recipes in which the ingredients are what we currently have in the fridge and have a list of those recipes ready for us on the door or emailed to us. Pictures on our refrigerator being streamed live from our loved ones as they are posted on various social media sites, keeping us in the loop with our families across the world… It’s not ‘If’, it’s most certainly ‘when’… We are currently living in the era of the ‘Internet of Everything’.
With this, though, comes the most important element: Security. How? How do we secure all of our information as we move forward? How do we secure billions of people while maintaining a ‘free moving internet?’ That’s why we’re here. We are here to discuss current security initiatives, evolving ideas, discussing the gaps in our current security… We are here to protect you.
As we move forward, it is absolutely essential to protect our ‘freedom’ to use the internet anytime, anywhere, and on any device. There are professionals working tirelessly in order to maintain that connectivity, and conversely, there are just as many trying to take our freedom away by disrupting our service and ‘stealing’ our personal information for their personal gain.
In our progression to ‘work our way’ in every way, we must stay vigilant and always on guard. I don’t know about you, but I do enjoy my flexibility and I also know I can sleep well at night knowing that there are people invested in my cybersecurity safety.