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Primer on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System CVSS

What is CVSS -- (the Common Vulnerability Scoring System)? How can it help me manage risk -- and why is it an important step forward in security research? In this short video Gavin Reid CVSS Program Chair share’s his perspective on the vulnerability scoring standard

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Tablets Welcomed: Addressing the top BYOD concern. Security.

Allowing personal devices on the corporate network can make any IT professional cringe. Security is naturally a top concern – and the topic of today’s blog.

One dimension of security is about enabling network access. To do that properly, you would need to design and enforce a mobile device access policy, which may include attributes such as: what the device is, who the user is, where and when access is requested, and the health (posture) of the device. Another dimension of security is about maintaining overall device integrity regardless of the network (corporate or otherwise) it connects to.

In this video we only address the first. Cisco’s solution is based on a newly launched product, the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE). Watch the video to learn:

  • What is the Cisco ISE?
  • Can I treat corporate devices differently from personal ones?
  • What about guests in the organization, do I need a separate system?

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Observations from the Darknet

Sometimes it is interesting to take a look at darknet data and see what you come across.  If you are not familiar with the term “darknet,” I am using the definition used by some in the service provider community where a darknet is a set of address space which contains no real hosts. That means no client workstations to initiate conversations with servers on the Internet.  It also means no advertised services from those ranges, such as a webserver, a DNS server, or a database server.  There is really no reason to see any traffic destined for addresses within those ranges.  From a network point of view, it should be as desolate and deserted as the town of Pripyat in the Ukraine, within the evacuation zone due to the Chernobyl disaster back in the 1980s. However, in practice, you do see traffic to those address ranges, which is what makes that traffic somewhat interesting.  Traffic destined to those ranges could be the result of malware attempting to locate machines to infect, part of a research project or it could be as simple as a misconfiguration or a typographical error.  One example of traffic resulting from a typo would come from attempting to ping a host and typing the wrong address in.  However, it would be hard to believe that all of the traffic seen in a darknet is the result of a mistake.

Setting up a darknet does not have to be hard to do.  If your organization has address space that is not being used, then all that you need to do is advertise a route for those addresses and leave them unused.   In our case, we have advertised several ranges and we collect Netflow data for the traffic destined to them from a nearby Cisco router.  That Netflow data is exported to a collector, such as nfcapd, where it is aggregated for further analysis.

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Cisco Live 2011 Industrial Intelligence Day Customer feedback – “A Great Success”

July 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm PST

Cisco Live’s first ever “Industrial Intelligence Day” focusing on manufacturing and industrial customer needs was judged a great success according to the feedback  given at the sessions in Las Vegas this week. In an action packed day attendees heard about trends in network convergence between business IT and Industrial plant networks, and how standard Ethernet IP protocols were becoming prevalent in industrial and control networks.

As Master of Ceremonies, I had the pleasure of introducing Alan Cohen, Vice President, Global Public Sector & Industry Solutions. Alan kicked off the day talking about the care-abouts of executives in Manufacturers and how Cisco is addressing them. He used real-life customer examples such as Coca-Cola, General Motors, GE, Continental Tire and Anglo Platinum. Alan expressed how Cisco was helping these customers address the challenges of  Growth, Market Transitions, Innovation, Risk and Goverance.  This set up a good interactive environment for Bryce Barnes and John Parello to introduce Energy and Sustainability for the manufacturing sector. Bryce pointed out that 35% of all energy usage in the world is consumed by manufacturing industry and we added that that figure goes over 50% if you include the transportation and distribution of those manufactured goods and materials.

After watching John Chamber’s Insightful Keynote, delegates returned to hear Paul Didier and Chris Haley (both Cisco) and Gregory Wilcox (Rockwell Automation) talk about the status and trends for wired LANs including resilience and security with a fascinating presentation on Motion from Gregory. That was followed by wireless strategies from David Wolf and Scott Friberg from Cisco talking about wireless innovations and real-world testing where wireless is now deemed appropriate for time critical applications. Then delegates went to the main tent for a thought-provoking session. Read More »

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Become Cloud-Powered with Context-Aware Networking

Context-Aware, Cisco Borderless Networks Accelerate the Adoption of Cloud services

According to a recent Cisco Enterprise customer poll, 50% of those surveyed are interested in deploying some type of cloud infrastructure – whether it is public, private, or a hybrid.  According to Forrester, (“Sourcing Groups Prepare For 2011 — Cloud Is Key Initiative 11/10”) Cloud adoption is already over 25% in North America, and continues to grow in Europe.

There are many reasons for migration to Cloud, including application portability on any device, business agility to deliver services and expand into new business models, and operational simplicity.

While many headlines talk about the Cloud, there is little mention of the role of the network in enabling Cloud services.

As organizations move to the cloud, and the varied devices and connection types accessing private and public cloud services,  they become prone to malware or Web vulnerabilities.  There’s also the risk of data loss. Ultimately, IT is faced with “can the network secure these connections, users, and data in a manner that ensures reliability and seamlessness?”  It is no wonder that a Forrester blog cited  that Security is the #1 barrier for cloud adoption.

Another concern is network performance. 83% of CIOs considered performance a top
concern for cloud services in an IDC Enterprise panel.  Management of virtualization has also become more complex.  According to an Enterprise Strategy Group study,  44% of  IT consider virtualization to have a major impact on network and server management.

The Cloud-Powered Business announcement today highlights for customers how the network is delivering solutions to break through these barriers to Cloud adoption: Security and Performance.

In this short interview, Praveen Akkiraju, SVP/GM of Services Routing Technology Group will discuss how Cisco is enabling organizations to accelerate adoption of cloud services by extending Borderless Networks to deliver secure, reliable, and optimized cloud services, “The Critical Role of the Network in Supporting Cloud-Based Solutions”.

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