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The Value of Collaboration in Weakening Attackers

Today’s attackers deploy complex and clever threats that are difficult to combat with just one method of defense. In some cases, defenders must go beyond tools for detecting attacks and devise a different approach for obstructing our adversaries’ ability to operate.

As detailed in the Cisco 2016 Annual Security Report, recent collaborative efforts between Cisco, Limestone Networks, and Level 3 Threat Research Labs have weakened the impact of two threats: the distribution of the Angler exploit kit, and the rapid growth of one of the Internet’s largest DDoS weapons built out by SSHPsychos. Read More »

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Branch Direct Internet Access: is your branch office secure?

With the recent launch of FirePower Threat Defense on Cisco 4000 Series Integrated Services Routers, I would like to spend some time talking about enterprise branch security and what are the requirements to keep in mind to secure your branch office. Let’s start out by examining your branch environment.

What’s happening at the branch today?

Cloud is redefining application delivery. Mobility is redefining network architecture. Next generation applications like Ultra High Definition videos, Web, and SaaS applications put increased pressure on bandwidth availability.

Organizations may be considering Direct Internet Access (DIA) at the branch to leverage local internet path for public cloud and internet access. Leveraging the local internet path at the branch reduces IT spending (freeing up costly WAN bandwidth for mission critical applications) and ensures better application experience, for example for applications hosted in the public cloud (less latency)  but it may come with a cost since now the branch may be exposed to security threats. Read More »

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The Need To Solve for Time

Ponemon Institute called 2014 the year of the “Mega Breaches,” which will be remembered for its series of mega security breaches and attacks. These “Mega Breaches” are perfect examples of what is commonly known as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). The Ponemon Institute survey asked, among many questions, “When was the breach discovered?” Surprisingly, the results revealed that ONLY 2% of the respondents in the survey discovered their breach within one week of after the incident and a staggering 90% were six months or longer, if at all.

Tom Houge 1

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“Security Everywhere” – Enterprise Branch Security for Direct Internet Access

Two weeks ago, a leading global medical device manufacturer came to Cisco for advice. In an effort to streamline IT operations and reduce operating costs, the customer had recently migrated from their internal Microsoft Exchange 2010 environment to Office365, Microsoft’s hosted online service.

The migration was initially done for the headquarter users and the feedback was more positive than they expected. However, when they migrated their branch and remote office users, the WAN bandwidth usage almost immediately spiked and user experience suffered as a result.

This customer is certainly not the only company looking to embrace Cloud applications for greater agility, reduced costs and complexity, and increased productivity. Or has had to deal with BYOD issues and the increasing impact of video has on their bandwidth. However, what our customer and those other companies have found is that the current method of backhauling the traffic to the data center is no longer a viable way to handle the increased consumption when faced with a flat or even a declining IT budget. Therefore, many of today’s distributed enterprises are looking to use direct Internet access pathways in an effort to improve the user experience while reducing IT costs.

However, enabling direct Internet access (DIA) at branch offices also forfeits the inherent threat protection that traffic routed through the data center provides. The enterprise-level risks that branch offices face with BYOD issues, compliance requirements, and advanced persistent threats require enterprise-level security. According to Gartner’s “Bring Branch Office Network Security Up to the Enterprise Standard”, “By 2016, 30% of advanced targeted threats — up from less than 5% today — will specifically target branch offices as an entry point.”

Cisco FirePOWER Threat Defense for ISR addresses these issues by extending their industry-leading FirePOWER threat protection beyond its traditional network edge and data center deployments out to individual Cisco ISR routers. Read More »

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Cisco Live 2013 Orlando: Security Training and Breakout Sessions

Cisco Live Orlando, June 23-27, 2013, is quickly approaching and registration is open. The Security track this year includes 72 breakout sessions, 74 hours of labs and seminars, and 3 Product Solution Overview sessions, accounting for about 15 percent of all the content delivered at Cisco Live. New for this year we will have several talks aimed at the network engineer in the role of a data analyst, helping them to better utilize and understand the data that comes from their networks (BRKSEC-2001, BRKSEC-2006, BRKSEC-2011, BRKSEC-2062, BRKSEC-3031, and BRKSEC-3062).

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