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Video Security Everywhere: From Creation to Consumption

Not that long ago, life was much easier. Video was delivered in a linear managed path and there was a well-defined process – from content creation to distribution to consumption – with distinct roles for content creators and service providers. Video infrastructure was largely isolated and used unique technologies designed for broadcast video delivery.

This model also made security much more straightforward. Video content was protected using encryption and conditional access integrated in the set-top box.

But today, life is getting more complex. IP and cloud based delivery allows service and content providers to meet customers’ demands, but it’s also more challenging to secure.

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In this open environment, service and content providers need to protect their entire network from new vulnerabilities, stopping attackers from stealing video content, services and confidential data. At the same time, they need to retain full flexibility to deliver the services customers want – security should not be an inhibitor but an enabler.

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New Cisco AnyConnect Network Visibility Module App for Splunk

Users on the network are an important layer of an organization’s security strategy – and a particularly vulnerable one. In fact, a recent IBM cybersecurity report found that human error was a contributing factor in 95% of all security incidents! It is critical to know what users are doing on the network, especially since some potential high-risk behaviors like data disclosure and shadow IT may not trigger current security layers (e.g. malware protection).

Cisco AnyConnect Network Visibility Module (NVM) empowers organizations to see endpoint and user behavior on their network. Cisco AnyConnect NVM collects flows from endpoints (e.g., laptops) both on and off-premise along with additional context like users, applications, devices, locations and destinations.  Now, IT administrators can use Splunk Enterprise to analyze and correlate this rich data with the new  Cisco AnyConnect Network Visibility (NVM) App for Splunk, which  provides collection and reporting of flows generated by the Cisco AnyConnect NVM endpoint sensor technology.

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Security Steps to Take in the Holiday Season – and Beyond

Retail companies face a landscape filled with growing and increasingly complex threats. And the financial impact of these breaches is soaring.

There are obvious financial incentives for attacking retailers because they typically don’t spend as much on security as financial institutions or government organizations, so they’ve become easy targets in recent years. According to Gartner, retailers spend about four percent of their IT budgets on cybersecurity, while financial services and health organizations spend 5.5% and 5.6% respectively. This is critical as the number of shoppers on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season continues to grow through different omnichannel opportunities. We have to be concerned and diligent because:

  • Financial organizations spent as much as $2,500 per employee on cybersecurity in 2014, while retailers only spent about $400 per employee.
  • AppRiver Global Security Report shows that 10 of the top 20 data breaches in 2015 were retailers.
  • According to research conducted by the Ponemon Institute in partnership with IBM, the average cost for each lost or stolen record has also increased. According to the study, the cost per record increased by more than 9%, from $136 per record in 2013, to $145 per record in 2014; and those numbers are still higher in the U.S., where the average cost for each lost or stolen record is $201.

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Introducing the Cisco PSIRT openVuln API

Cisco PSIRT openVuln APIIn October, we announced details about Cisco PSIRT’s new and improved security vulnerability disclosure format. Our Chief Security and Trust Officer, John Stewart, also revealed that Cisco will launch an application programming interface (API) that empowers customers to customize Cisco vulnerability information and publications. Today, we have officially launched the Cisco PSIRT openVuln API and it is available for immediate use.

The Cisco PSIRT openVuln API is a RESTful API that allows customers to obtain Cisco security vulnerability information in different machine-consumable formats. It supports industrywide security standards such as the Common Vulnerability Reporting Framework (CVRF)Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL), Common Vulnerability and Exposure (CVE) identifiers, and the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS).

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This API allows technical staff and programmers to build tools that help them do their job more effectively. In this case, it enables them to easily keep up with security vulnerability information specific to their network. That frees up more time for them to manage their network and deploy new capabilities in their infrastructure.

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Top 3 Ways New ACI Innovations Improve Your Data Center

Yesterday, Cisco announced a new software release for ACI. If you are looking to automate IT, or build out your cloud environment, and want to do so in an open fashion that provides a lot of flexibility – then you’ll probably be interested.

Why? The new ACI release:

  1. Makes managing and securing your cloud environment easier;
  2. Provides openness, expanding customer choice; and
  3. Delivers operational flexibility

OK, so what does this actually mean?

  1. Makes managing and securing your cloud environment easier

Three of the most popular cloud management tools include Microsoft Azure Pack, OpenStack and VMware vRealize. Earlier this year, we announced Windows Azure Pack ACI integration. With this new ACI release, we integrate ACI with OpenStack and vRealize, as well. (More details are here.) So this means that if you need to, say, provision a virtual workload in vCenter, ACI automagically orchestrates things to match computing resources and networking infrastructure.  So, you can enjoy the policy based automation and all the other benefits of ACI regardless of which of these tools you use to manage your cloud environment.

This also means OpenStack users can now create and manage their own virtual networks, extending ACI policy directly into the hypervisor with a hardware-accelerated, fully distributed OpenStack networking solution – the only one available that integrates both physical and virtual environments.

To more easily and completely secure these environments, the new release provides micro-segmentation support for VMware VDS, Microsoft Hyper-V virtual switch, and bare-metal endpoints. Essentially, this means more granular enforcement of security policies.   These can be based on numerous different criteria relevant to attributes associated with the network, e.g. IP address, or the virtual machine, e.g. VM identifier, Name, etc. There are additional capabilities that can, for example, disable communication between devices within a policy group (intra EPG, for those more familiar with ACI) – useful in thwarting lateral expansion of attacks.

  1. Provides openness, expanding customer choice

Piggybacking off some comments above, it’s worth noting that since ACI’s inception, one of its differentiators has been the ability to integrate physical servers as well as virtual machines, and to apply policy consistently across them. Well, now there’s a new kid on the block, as the industry observes an increasingly popular trend to use containers as another way of operating applications.   As part of this announcement, we are extending ACI support to include Docker containers, in addition to VM’s and bare metal servers. This is done by using Project Contiv, which is an open source project that has a Docker network plugin allowing, among other things, automatic configuration of Docker hosts to integrate with ACI. Check out details on this video and/or this white paper. Network Computing commented here, that:

“Given all the hubbub in the industry over Docker, ACI’s new Docker container support is noteworthy.”

Another way this new release is driving openness and providing more choice for customers is around L4-7 services. ACI now supports service insertion and chaining for any service device.  So, customers can leverage their existing model of deploying and operating their L4-L7 device, while automating the network connectivity. This is in addition to, not instead of, the device package model, which provides for more comprehensive ‘soup to nuts’ automation. Speaking of which, as part of this announcement, several new partners also joined the ACI Ecosystem. This video provides some insight into how some of them automate your applications.

  1. Delivers operational flexibility

The new release has a number of tools that create more flexible operating environments. A quick rundown includes the multi-site app, which enables policy-driven automation across multiple datacenters, providing enhanced application mobility and disaster recovery. In short, this means you can run ACI in 2 different data centers, and extend the policy across them. Other tools provide the ability to do configuration rollback, as well as NX-OS Style CLI. This is for the CLI junkie that wants to run the entire ACI fabric as a single switch. There are some other cool nuggets in here as well, like a heat map that provides real-time visibility into system health.

Clayton Weise, Director of Cloud Services at KeyInfo, summed it up best when he said:

“ACI is the direction we’re going to go because it gives us the best flexibility.” (Read the entire Network World story here.)

In summary, this new release adds capabilities that will help you more effectively manage and secure your cloud environment, as well as leverage the benefits of both openness and operational flexibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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