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Remembering the small things: IT Security

There are many tasks and responsibilities of the (lone) IT sysadmin, they are sometimes varied, sometimes monotonous.  We know what they are without thinking about them, as if they are unwritten commandments, specific to the IT world.

Security has featured greatly in the world news over the past few years, and even more so within the IT circles. We have the aspects of social responsibility, who is watching the watchers, how should they be held to account (NSA, GCHQ). We have the more particular stories, such as Heartbleed, and the “simplicity” of gaining information from a system.

Sitting down and reading about the recently highlighted issue surrounding a fake Trojan copy of the popular terminal tool, PuTTY, I realized that over all, we spend a great deal thinking about security within IT systems. But sometimes we don’t think about security in the actions we take, or we forget to think about them. Read More »

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Responding to Third Party Vulnerabilities

We are now more than one year on from the release of HeartBleed, the first major vulnerability disclosed in widely used third-party code. This is an excellent point in time to look back at what Cisco and our customers have achieved since, including how the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) has evolved to meet this new type of threat. It’s also a key time for us to confirm and clarify our commitment to transparency in the vulnerability disclosure process.

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Securing the Supply Chain is a Collaborative Effort

I’ve been thinking lately about how collaboration can work for the IT industry as we strive to address security. Cisco’s supply chain security capability focuses on three key exposures: taint, counterfeit and misuse of intellectual property.

Specifically, I’ve been thinking about how we might detect and mitigate against counterfeit ASICs. I have a hunch that working with the semiconductor industry, we can achieve this goal. Read More »

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Why I Love Big Data Partner Series 6: Highlights from Cisco Live — Top Insights from Platfora

Our last but not least guest blog on “Why I Love Big Data Partner Series” is up! If you are on your way back home from Cisco Live, this would be a great read for your commute. Rob Rosen from Platfora will take us through how easy it is to uncover previously hidden threats with an integrated big data solution that dynamically analyzes large volumes of disparate security data from Cisco’s security portfolio. If you missed Cisco Live this year, Rob also did a great job summarizing some of the key highlights.


Rob Rosen 2 (1)

Rob RosenSr. Director Partner Solutions at Platfora, is responsible for developing Big Data solutions within Platfora’s partner community including Cisco, Hadoop distribution providers and Platfora’s growing channel partner team. Rob has worked in leadership capacities with technology leaders in the infrastructure and Big Data space including MapR Technologies, NetApp, Check Point Software and Sun Microsystems.


Highlights from Cisco Live: Top Insights from Platfora

It was a jam-packed week at Cisco Live and I had the opportunity to dive into the latest developments around big data analytics and security. It’s well known that as IT infrastructure has transferred to virtual cloud-based applications and storage, organizations need visibility and security to keep their assets and data safe. I saw a lot of impressive presentations and I was able to share our own technology in partnership with Cisco.

Highlights from this week’s conference:

  • John Chambers’ keynote: Everyone’s talking about it—and for good reason. As he welcomed the crowd to Cisco Live, Chambers focused on exactly how businesses get disrupted in the digital age. He urged attendees and organizations to not hesitate to scrutinize their IT infrastructure and adopt the new technologies they’d see at the conference.
  •  Collaboration across companies: There was a huge ecosystem of technology companies that partnered with Cisco for a presence at the event. It’s encouraging to see that these tech giants across all industries are collaborating with one another to develop more comprehensive solutions for customers. Cisco’s leading the pack as it models an inclusive approach built on partnerships—which is better for everyone in the long run.
  • Cisco Intercloud announcement: This is a particularly exciting partnership announcement for Platfora. Cisco’s Intercloud Ecosystem could be described as a hybrid “cloud of clouds.” For anyone looking to pull value from their stored data, manage files or do a huge variety of other vital business tasks, this development is huge.

Read More »

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Federal Agencies and the Internet of Things

Earlier this week, Federal Computer Week ran an article – “Are agencies really ready for the Internet of Things?” – that discusses the potential challenges government agencies face when implementing the Internet of Things (IoT). The article’s author spoke to Gary Hall, chief technology officer for Federal Defense at Cisco, about these challenges, as well as why federal agencies can’t afford to ignore IoT any longer.

The biggest concern that all organizations have with IoT is the massive scope it involves – there is a huge volume of data being produced and a need to store and process it all. Even just the number of connected devices is expected to explode in the coming years, growing from around 16 billion today to 50 billion by 2020. “Humans can’t deal with the volume of data we’re producing,” Hall said.

All this data means more chances for security breaches as well, which is especially worrying for federal agencies. In this case, awareness is key, as Peter Romness, a business development manager Cisco, spoke about at a recent GovLoop seminar. Romness cautioned that there is no “silver bullet” defense, so agencies must prepare to deal with inevitable hacks. “It’s not a question of if you’re going to get hacked, it’s a matter of when,” he said.

Despite these concerns, IoT experts agree that federal agencies cannot avoid the issue any longer, and if they haven’t already started planning for IoT implementation, they’re behind. Cisco estimates that IoT will generate $4.6 trillion for the public sector over the next 10 years, and agencies that are too wary of potential security issues risk missing out on this value. “This is the next big disruption,” Hall said. “It’s important that we aren’t so afraid of the fear of attack that we don’t realize the value.”

For example, the General Services Administration (GSA) – which manages nearly 10,000 government-owned buildings around the county – is reaping the rewards of its IoT- building management initiative, GSALink. GSA collects almost 30 million data points from sensors throughout its buildings, constantly monitoring everything from light to humidity. Using this data, GSA is able to optimize conditions when workers are present and save on energy costs when buildings are empty. IoT can add significant value like this to all federal agencies – they just have to take advantage of it!

Read more about how IoT can transform the public sector here, and check out more thoughts from Cisco’s experts like Gary Hall on our blog.

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