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The Risk of Remote Connection: What’s Your Plan?

July 17, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

As a business or technical leader, you know you need to protect your company in a rapidly evolving mobile ecosystem. However, threats are not always obvious. As malware and attacks become more sophisticated over time, business decision makers must work with technical decision makers to navigate security threats in a mobile world.

This blog series, authored by Kathy Trahan, will explore the topic of enterprise mobility security from a situational level and provide insight into what leaders can do now to mitigate risk. To read the first post focused on securing device freedom, click here. – Bret Hartman, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Cisco’s Security Technology Group

Imagine two of your executives are using a SaaS platform while working off an unsecure hotel Wi-Fi network nearby. Did you know that SaaS and B2B applications are 15 times more likely than pornography to deliver malicious content across a network?

The threats against a remote connection are unfortunately very real and using an unprotected network to access company assets (whether on-premise or in the cloud) can have serious consequences.

As the growth of mobility and cloud blur the lines of our personal and business lives, the “mobile cloud” has drawn users (consumer or employee) to its convenience. According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly 80% of workers had positive feelings for using their own computers and mobile devices to stay connected to work outside of normal business hours.

For IT, the mobile cloud offers huge management efficiencies. Recent Cisco mobility research confirms that mobility strategies are converging with cloud strategies. However, it also forces IT and business leaders to find a happy medium between encouraging corporate productivity and addressing a new wave of security concerns. From the same research, nearly half of the organizational leaders surveyed say security risks can prevent them from moving forward with mobility initiatives.

Despite these risks, It is hard to dispute that off premise access provides significant productivity gains especially as organizations see mobility as a competitive edge to embrace.

As more mobile users enter the market, (over half a billion devices were added just last year) and the number of remote workers becomes more ubiquitous, the expectation is that networks and access should be the same, regardless of location.

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Unified Security Metrics Program—Live at RSA Singapore

Noted business management author Peter Drucker famously said, “What’s measured is improved.” When applied to the world of security, meaningful security metrics can literally transform an organization and solve real business problems. At Cisco, Unified Security Metrics (USM) combines multiple sources of data to create higher-value actionable business metrics and decision-making capabilities to protect the company’s data, business processes, operational integrity, and brand from security threats.

Hessel Heerebout, Program Manager for Cisco’s award-winning USM program, will give an overview entitled “Cisco Unified Security Metrics: Measuring Your Organization’s Security Health” (Session ID #SEC-W05) at RSA Singapore on July 23. Read More »

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Securing Employee Device Freedom

As a business or technical leader, you know you need to protect your company in a rapidly evolving mobile ecosystem.

However, threats are not always obvious. As malware and attacks become more sophisticated over time, business decision makers must work with technical decision makers to navigate security threats in a mobile world.

I’m excited to introduce a new blog series, authored by Kathy Trahan, which will explore the topic of enterprise mobility security from a situational level and provide insight into what leaders can do now to mitigate risk.

This first post will discuss the security concerns presented by the rapid-fire growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and how implementing specific policies can help organizations reap the benefits of true mobility now and in the future.

Kathy Trahan Senior Security Solutions Marketing Manager Global Marketing Corporate Communications

Kathy Trahan
Senior Security Solutions Marketing Manager

With the increasing amount of tablets, wearables, and other connected “things” in the workplace, it’s no wonder that the BYOD trend is causing a dynamic shift in security policies and protocol.

This heightened focus on security only increases when the security threat evolution shows that attackers seem to stay one step ahead of the security measures in place to stop them. And while the BYOD movement does present special challenges to ensuring data security, it also affords BDMs and TDMs an opportunity to collaborate and come up with security solutions that balance the need to secure company assets while still allowing employees to conduct business on devices that are familiar and comfortable to them.

As enterprises look for ways to improve productivity, efficiency, and flexibility for their workforces, mobility has become a key factor. A Gartner survey predicts that by 2017, half of employers will require their employees to provide their own devices for work purposes. And as use of and reliance on mobility increase, so does the need for security policies that allow employees to function in a work world that extends beyond their cubicle and office walls.

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Cisco IT’s Identity Services Engine Deployment: Project Planning, Personnel, and Progress

Several customers have asked me how Cisco IT does project planning for a large enterprise deployment such as the Identity Services Engine, or ISE. What’s our approach? How do we manage operational costs? How do we measure performance? What personnel are involved throughout the process?  Read More »

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A New Model to Protect the Endpoint, Part 3: Automated Advanced Analytics

In my final post in this series, I wanted to focus on another powerful innovation made possible by combining a big data architecture and a continuous approach for more effective protection: automated, advanced analytics.

Today’s advanced malware compromises environments from an array of attack vectors, takes endless form factors, launches attacks over time, and can obfuscate the exfiltration of data. To detect advanced attacks as they move laterally through the network and across endpoints, defenders need technologies that automatically look for Indicators of Compromise (IoCs) left behind by malware and exploits, as well as more advanced behaviors of compromise that happen over time. Read More »

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