Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Security

The Seven Deadly Sins of User Access Controls: Part I

2014 was a terrible year for corporate data breaches. If there is to be any silver lining, information security professionals must draw lessons from the carnage. A good place to start is to identify common denominators.

Several of the most damaging incidents started with phishing emails into office (or contractor) networks. Social engineering has gotten so sophisticated and targeted, we can hardly blame the employees (sometimes high-level executives) for clicking on legitimate-looking links. Once an attacker establishes his credentials as the compromised employee, he potentially can gain access to whatever that employee uses. One attacker got in through a corporate software development network that was not sufficiently segregated from other critical networks. In other cases, disgruntled employees with access to valuable customer data were involved.

Clearly, employee access controls are critical. If we can improve these systems, we will go a long way toward securing our networks. This is not as easy as it sounds, however. When information security teams restrict access or revoke privileges, they get pushback. They become obstructionists, bad cops, bureaucrats. To be fair, we really do run the risk of strangling teamwork, erecting stovepipes, and throttling collaboration. How do we construct robust user access controls without being the bad guys?

Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Cisco Live! Milan Post-Show Launch Update: Freely customize your ISE Portals Like a Pro!

The portals that your employees and guests use for enterprise mobility and guest access are a reflection of your company brand and putting your best foot forward means customizing them for a better user experience. The challenge is that customization often requires someone with knowledge of HTML, Java, CSS, and even jQuery skills – in addition to having design skills to properly feature content.

While Cisco offers brand new, out-of-the-box customization with Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) 1.3, we wanted to give customers the ability to do much more – so we’ve introduced a new, web-based tool called the ISE Portal Builder that we demo’d at Cisco Live! in Milan, Italy. The show attendees who came by our booth and attended private showings were really amazed by the capabilities offered and they recognized that the ISE Portal Builder enabled almost anyone to build a beautiful guest, BYOD, profile, sponsor, or MDM portal in minutes at no additional cost.

While we already improved the ISE 1.3 ability to quickly model workflows and do basic customization, utilizing the ISE Portal Builder designers can choose from a suite of templates, or create their own using a drag-and-drop page creator. In addition, we’ve made it easy to import, layout, and manage images and other displayed files. You can add advertisements and banners in different places, and even add them into a rotating carousel. You can select up to 17 languages and even create a custom portal for each!

To access the tool go to http://isepb.cisco.com and register using your CCO ID.

Tags: , , ,

Cisco Hosting Amsterdam 2015 FIRST Technical Colloquium

Registration is now open for the upcoming FIRST Technical Colloquium May 4-6, 2015 at Cisco Systems in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Please contact us at amsterdam-tc@first.org for any questions. The event already has an exciting preliminary program covering:

  • Attacks Against Cloud Server Honeypots
  • Emerging Threats – The State of Cyber Security
  • Cisco IOS and IOS-XE Integrity Assurance
  • CIIP and NIS Directives and Their Implication for CERTs – Recent German Activities
  • APT Attack & Mobile Threats – MyCERT Case Studies
  • Challenges in Applied Threat Intelligence
  • SSHCure: Flow-Based Compromise Detection Using NetFlow/IPFIX
  • Next Level Red Team vs. Blue Team

As well as many more current issues facing the incident response community! Learn how organizations operationalize intelligence to mitigate and detect advanced threats, and listen to war stories from front line incident responders and managers.

The event’s line-up includes notables from KPMG, IBM, CERT, Cisco, MyCERT, Alertlogic, and many others. Looking forward to a great TC in Amsterdam!

https://www.first.org/events/colloquia/amsterdam2015

Jeff Bollinger and Matt Valites

Tags: ,

The Dreaded “5-Tuple”

5-tuple

If you were to ask any security administrator who had to manage the security policies across an organization, they would probably define the “5-Tuple” as a “hard to understand, cryptic method leftover from the 1990s’ policy management for implementing access control and segmentation capabilities in networks.

Despite its complexity, 5-Tuple has been a mainstay in performing access control and segmentation for decades. However, Cisco has provided an alternate deployment approach to the pains of the “5-Tuple” approach to managing security policies across the organization by delivering Cisco TrustSec across our product portfolio so that Security Teams could consolidate their security policies, scale segmentation, and create a security fabric that spans across the entire organization. Read More »

Tags: , ,

Our Ecosystem Begins Here @Ciscocloud

As Cisco prepares for Cisco Live Melbourne #clmel, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight our @Ciscocloud Intercloud partnership with Telstra

The following Q&A session between executives of our partnered companies identifies the unique challenges of our current business environment and the rapidly changing needs of our customers. Interviewed by Stuart Robbins, the participants in our inaugural blog are Ken Owens, Cloud Services CTO from Cisco, and Tim Otten, GM Cloud Strategy and Platforms from Telstra.

Q: Cisco’s strategy is to create solutions built upon intelligent networks that solve our customers’ challenges. As a key technology partner, Telstra’s diverse customers present unique opportunities for a new generation of solutions for those customers – can you tell us about how our combined capabilities will help those customers be successful?

A:
[Otton, Tim J] Networks are increasingly important to the delivery of services as we shift to “the Cloud,” and the concurrent profusion of data, workforce mobility, distributed application environments, and the hybrid infrastructures supporting those applications. Both Cisco and Telstra are committed to delivering highly secure, high-performance intelligent network capabilities.

These networks must be thoroughly responsive to an ever-changing set of user and application requirements – adaptive, flexible, and resilient. Both companies have a rich tradition of global insight gained from a relentless focus on customer requirements.

[Owens, Ken] Telstra is one of the industry’s most advanced solution providers, with a noteworthy history of successful technology transformations in telecommunications. From the earliest days of IT outsourcing, and managed hosting, and now as we shift to the Cloud, Telstra has provided true leadership to the industry during these transformations.

Like Cisco, they view their customers’ strategic objectives as Priority 1 and will do whatever is necessary to make their customers successful. For more than 25 years, Cisco and Telstra have guided the market through each new technological shift, with exceptional people leading the way.

Q: One aspect of the changing enterprise landscape is the “blurred” boundaries between large enterprises in business ecosystems. While the basic principles remain important (resilient architectures, reliable networks, responsive applications), what are some of the emerging challenges in this “ecosystem first” world?

A:

[Otton, Tim J] The business landscape has changed. Cloud, Mobility, Social Media, advanced analytics, and open platforms are also changing the landscape for service creation and innovation. Increasingly, service creation will emerge both within and beyond (intra- and inter-organizational) boundaries to better serve a growing number of mobile users and a project-oriented workforce.

In order to support connectivity as well as enable full integration with many external partners and providers, businesses are now required to ‘open’ their IT environment. Increasingly, organizations are choosing to expose their own systems and proprietary data to third-parties, creating “greater value” by encouraging innovative use of a company’s intellectual assets. Software applications are distributed, both geographically and architecturally. All of these factors alter the connectivity/security paradigms of traditional enterprise IT.

[Owens, Ken] Tim is right on, and the exciting element of this model is that it’s driven by the customer! This is not a consumer fad or one-time remodel, this is the pace and speed by which business must adopting to the requirements of their customers and the rapidly changing marketplace. A successful business today requires a flexible set of services and capabilities to quickly adapt to this changing landscape. Together, Cisco and Telstra have a proven track record of enabling innovation to address the changing needs of the businesses we support.

Q: Providing exceptional products and services to Enterprise IT is familiar territory to both Cisco and Telstra, and this common ground is one reason why the Cisco-Telstra partnership makes great sense. As we move beyond IT, we’re also being asked to directly address the needs of business departments (marketing, product management, customer support). How do we adapt to meet those needs?

A:

[Otton, Tim J] We need to develop a deeper understanding of the different “lines of business” within the Enterprise. We need to better understand what drives their business and the market environments in which they operate. In other words, we need to become an enabler of business solutions rather than simply selling more technology. Our focus needs to be increasingly on the business outcomes we can deliver to our customers.
We need equip our sales teams to communicate those solutions, to be able to engage customers in conversations that start with business issues and proceed from there to provision enabling technologies rather than starting (and often finishing with) technology alone.
At the same time, we need to better support IT departments so that these services can be integrated into the overall Enterprise network architecture- – -ensuring that these distributed services are secure, and optimized to perform reliably. Telstra and Cisco need to be seen as enabling partners, and not just suppliers.

[Owens, Ken] The needs of the business can be vast, complicated, and rapidly evolving to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. Cisco and Telstra are leaders in business transformation. The key to success in this ever-changing environment is to provide leadership with speed, agility, innovative leadership to assist each customer’s ability to adapt to the changes. Of course, Tim’s right, we also need to help IT executives quickly transition not only their technology, but also their processes and practices.

Q: The recipe seems simple enough = one part: exceptional technology with the associated expertise, and one part: an evolved partnership methodology (i.e., Partnership 2.0) that will serve as the foundation for what our companies can accomplish together.

One last question. Imagine what success looks like for the joint Cisco-Telstra effort in two years: what are the core behaviors/values that we’ll be most proud to have embraced, when we glance back? In other words, what are the central organizational principles that will serve to anchor this new style of ecosystem development?

A:

[Otton, Tim J] My vision for the partnership is that we have developed an advanced understanding of the requirements of stakeholders – whether it be IT, LOB, or end-users – within the customers we served and are singularly focused on the business outcomes that we can jointly deliver for our customers.

[Owens, Ken] The demands of Enterprise 2.0 require an infrastructure that is both elastic and reliable, flexible yet secure. Organizations, too, will require those very characteristics. To accomplish this,“Governance 2.0” and “Partnership 2.0” become framework components of that new ecosystem in service of our customer’s transformed world. As Tim stated, the business outcomes and continuously delivering business value are the key principles.

Thank you Tim for you time to discuss the joint journey we are embarking on.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,