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TechWiseTV 120 Defending the Data Center

September 20, 2012 at 10:30 am PST

We had to dig further, past our initial meetings internally and determine what would make this particular story unique from previous ones we have told this year.  As it turns out, we had plenty of material to share but three really good shows done earlier, now provide great context for appreciating the innovation we talk about in this one.

Check out: Fundamentals of High End FirewallsFundamentals of Intrusion Prevention and (TechWiseTV 115) Firewall Reinvention with the ASA-CX

So topically, Security in the Data Center is an easy hit of course.  It almost sounds like an Oxymoron as many are convinced it is some kind of insurmountable obstacle. Nothing could be further from the truth.   It seems to top many lists.  [Watch 'Defending the Data Center' Right Now.]

As Cisco broadens the tool set with new models and deployment options, we broke this one down along party lines:

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The September 2012 Cisco Security Advisory Bundle is Coming Soon!

As previously discussed here on the Cisco Security blog, the Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) follows a twice-per-year schedule for disclosing high-severity security vulnerabilities in Cisco IOS Software. The next Cisco IOS Software Security Advisory Bundle will be released on the 26th of September at 16:00 GMT. Our Security Vulnerability Policy describes the schedule best:

In direct response to customer feedback, Cisco releases bundles of Cisco IOS Software Security Advisories on the fourth Wednesday 16:00 GMT of the month in March and September of each calendar year. This schedule applies to the disclosure of Cisco IOS Software vulnerabilities and does not apply to the disclosure of vulnerabilities in other Cisco products.

We offer several convenient and timely ways to learn of new
Cisco Security Advisories and Cisco Security Advisory Bundles.

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The Three Pillars to Cisco’s Secure Data Center Strategy: Part 2 Threat Defense

In part one of our series on Cisco’s Secure Data Center Strategy, we did a deeper dive on segmentation.  As a refresh, segmentation can be broke into three key areas. The first, the need to create boundaries is caused because perimeters are beginning to dissolve and many environments are no longer trusted forcing us to segment compute resources, the network and virtualized attributes and environments. Along with segmenting physical components, policies must be segmented by function, device, and organizational division. Lastly, segmenting access control around networks and resources whether they are compute, network, or applications offers a higher level of granularity and control. This includes role-based access and context based access.  Ensuring policy transition across the boundaries is of primary concern. To learn more on segmentation go here.

Today we will dive deeper into Cisco’s security value-add of threat defense.

Technology trends such as cloud computing, proliferation of personal devices, and collaboration are enabling more efficient business practices, but they are also putting a strain on the data center and adding new security risks.  As technology becomes more sophisticated, so are targeted attacks, and these security breaches, as a result, are far more costly.  The next figure is from Information Weeks 2012 Strategic Security Survey and illustrates top security breaches over the previous year.

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Managing Security Content That Matters

What might interest you to spend time at a website such as Cisco’s Security Intelligence Operations (SIO) web portal? You might be compelled because of the relevant security content made available to you that matters most. Directly linked to that experiential perspective are the behind-the-scenes efforts that are related to the publishing and presentation of security content, which is a dynamic undertaking because the Internet never sleeps and the next cyber-security event looms just around the corner. Security practitioners, and non-practitioners alike, reap the benefits from the security content that the Cisco SIO content managers orchestrate for the SIO portal. This article provides insights into how they contribute to the publishing of trusted, consistent, and predictable content for you, our customers, on a daily basis throughout the year.

Managing security content is significant in several respects to SIO, where there is an array of options to apply and reap maximum benefit from content within the key security tenets: confidentiality, integrity, and availability. At its core, SIO’s security content transcends diverse communications mediums and is woven into the methods related to how we consume and interact with it. Cisco has a team of dedicated content managers chartered with meeting the demands and challenges of delivering timely, credible, and actionable security intelligence through the editorial and web publishing services that they provide within SIO.

The Security Content Manager needs to be mindful of the content providers and publishing platforms covered while aggregating and distilling security information for use by a global audience over multiple communications channels within the context of their use cases. This approach is integral to facilitating the degree and impact of the security content’s effectiveness and utility.

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The Three Pillars to Cisco’s Secure Data Center Strategy: Part 1 Segmentation

Last week Cisco announced several new products in it’s Defending the Data Center launch. These included the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance Software Release 9.0, Cisco IPS 4500 Series Sensors, Cisco Security Manager 4.3, and the Cisco ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall, adding enhanced performance, management, and threat defense capabilities. Core to this launch was also Cisco’s new strategy for developing Secure Data Center Solutions, a holistic approach similar to what Cisco previously did with Secure BYOD. This new strategy integrates Cisco security products into Cisco’s networking and data center portfolio to create validated designs and smart solutions. Organizations that lack bandwidth and resources or the know how to test and validate holistic designs can simply deploy template configurations based on pre-tested environments that cover complete data center infrastructures. These designs enable predictable, reliable deployment of solutions and business services and allow customers infrastructures to evolve as their data center needs change.

In developing this strategy we interviewed numerous customers, partners and field-sales reps to formulate the role of security in the data center and how to effectively get to the next step in the data center evolution or journey, whether you are just beginning to virtualize or have already advanced to exploring various cloud models. Three security priorities consistently came up and became the core of our strategy of delivering the security added value. They are Segmentation, Threat-Defense and Visibility.  This blog series, beginning with segmentation, will provide a deeper dive into these three pillars.

Segmentation itself can be broken into three key areas. Perimeters are beginning to dissolve and many environments are no longer trusted, forcing us to segment compute resources, the network, and virtualized environments to create new boundaries, or zones. Along with segmenting physical components, policies must include segmentation of virtual networks and virtual machines, as well as by function, device, and logical association. Lastly, segmenting access control around networks and resources whether they are compute, network or applications offers a higher level of granularity and control. This includes role-based access and context based access.  Let’s discuss even deeper.

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