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National Cyber Security Awareness Month

This month, we are marking the tenth anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). The goal is to raise awareness and educate Americans about the importance of cyber security. Agencies and organizations are holding events and driving initiatives to engage Americans in a discussion about how to establish safer practices.

NCSAM sheds light on the most pressing topics in security, including mobility, education, cyber crime and critical infrastructure.  In alignment with NCSAM’s mission, we are sharing our own cyber security best practices, advice and resources.

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As Mobile Social Usage and Constant Connectivity Increases, Security A Top Concern

Survey results from an IDC study recently revealed that people are relying more and more on their smart mobile device as their primary tool for communication and connecting.

The study, sponsored by Facebook, highlights some compelling insights about mobility including:

  • Half of the total US population uses smartphones
  • A “sense of being connected” is the strongest sentiment for driving mobile social usage
  • The most popular activities on smartphones are email (78%), Web browsing (73%) and Facebook (70%)

alwaysconnectedEveryday we are seamlessly integrating mobility features into our daily lives. We use mobile devices for tasks such as email, mobile shopping and making social connections. According to the IDC study, nearly 80 percent of us reach for our phone within 15 minutes of waking up for the day – I am part of this statistic!

It’s clear that mobility and the increasing use of social media creates new ways for us to interact and connect, but it’s also creating new security concerns. With the influx of personal data on our social media news feeds and our purchasing habits sitting in our smartphone’s browsing history, how can we make sure our personal information is secure? In addition, as the lines between personal and work devices blur, how can enterprises make sure employee-owned social networks aren’t opening the door for the latest network threat? An essential part of our mobile future will depend on enterprises and individuals developing a comprehensive approach to protecting sensitive data and privacy. Read More »

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Cyber Security Awareness Month 2013: Trust is the Topic

With October designated as Cyber Security Awareness Month, it got me thinking about the connections between awareness and trust. Cisco has made significant investments in what we call “Trustworthy Systems.” These products and services integrate security features, functions, and design practices from the very beginning. We do this because we know that people will be depending on Cisco products for communications critical to their personal and professional missions. Read More »

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Cisco Domain Ten: The Compendium

It’s hard to believe but it’s ten months since I first blogged on  Cisco Domain TenSM,  which is Cisco Service’s framework to guide you on your path to data center and cloud transformation. I’ve now covered all ten domains of this concise and powerful model.  I’ll now collect all articles – including my most Cisco Domain Ten article around the breadth of SDN adoption challenges – into this one article as a useful summary.  So forgive the brevity and please do dive into the links/URLs for more information if indeed you missed these articles first time. And if you’ve read every article and watched our VoDs, please do let me know what you thought of the series – oh, and thanks!

Going back, now, I started in December 2012, with our launch of Cisco Domain Ten, where I set the focus for my series of articles as cloud transformation.  Let me summarize each article with (and for those that know me you’ll know this is a struggle :-) ) just one sentence with the key message from each blog/domain.

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Security and Insecurity in the Internet of Everything

The Internet of Everything is a big thing, and it’s going to get bigger. As more devices, sensors, gadgets, and people get interconnected, you’ll hear more and more about it. But there’s one aspect of the Internet of Everything that I don’t hear a lot about.

That aspect is security, both in the form of actual security and the sense of security.

Let’s go back to the mid-1980s, when I got my start with computers. You could finally buy one and make it useful at home without being a programmer or a soldering wiz. Pre-packaged software was available to do all sorts of useful things, but the thing that stood out for me was financial software. You know, Sylvia Porter, Multiplan, or whatever worked with your brand of computer. (I was a weird kid; I even did mock tax returns in middle school civics class for extra credit.)

But there were a lot of people who would not think of doing their finances on their home computer, for fear of being hacked or having their identity and their money stolen electronically.

Now anyone who’s had a credit card replaced because their account information was compromised will know this is a valid concern, at times. But some of these folks using Quicken on their monochrome Macintosh 512 without any connection to the outside world were convinced that hackers would get in, perhaps through the power line (way before powerline Ethernet adapters).

It took the personal financial software industry (and the PC industry as a whole) a while to overcome the fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) surrounding their products, to the point where people were comfortable storing their personal/sensitive information on a personal computer, connected or not. Fast forward to today when, according to Pew Research, over half of us bank online and about a third bank on our mobile phones.

mobile phone

As more people start to see what the Internet of Everything is about, they’re going to be excited, and eager to get involved. But they’re also going to have concerns and fears about all of this interconnectedness, and what it means for their privacy and security.

You’re not going to want hackers to make your fridge shut down, for example. But we shouldn’t cry over spoilt milk that isn’t necessarily going to happen.

There will be some genuine security issues, at least as long as humans are writing the code (and the documentation), but I expect there will be more fears of issues than actual issues. It’s like wars and rumors of wars. They can both be dangerous, but we can each take an active role in dealing with the latter.

As for me, I’m watching for where interconnectedness is growing fastest, and getting an elevator pitch ready to calm the nerves of my less-technical friends, coworkers, neighbors, the woman behind the counter at Five Guys, my landlord, etc.

Now I’m off to recharge my Pebble and Fitbit for the week, and make sure my unconnected fridge hasn’t turned itself off yet. But before I go…

What are you doing to prepare for the Internet of Everything? And where do you think the most FUD will come from? I’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments below

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