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Security: Your Network Superpower

- December 2, 2016 - 0 Comments

We know that cybersecurity is a mainstream issue when we hear about attacks happening on an almost weekly basis. That wasn’t the case even 3 – 4 years ago. As crucial as the issue is, it’s quite amazing to see that less than 10% of businesses in Asia Pacific (APAC) have a comprehensive understanding of cyber-attacks. As companies pursue digitization, security should not be falling by the wayside in terms of priorities.

In fact, security should be at the top of every company’s digital agenda. At the most fundamental level, security is about building trust. And if customers can’t trust you, why would they do business with you?

A Security-first Mindset

Security will only become more challenging as more devices become connected – predictions say 50 billion by 2020, twice as much as in 2015! This represents a lot more open doors for cyber-attacks. On average, they take 3 months to be detected and at least the same amount of time to be resolved. In that period of time, attackers take what they want, exposing privileged data and compromising your relationship with your customers. They say prevention is better than the cure, and corporate security is no exception. So the question is: how do you keep those threats from getting through your doorway?

Nothing has been more critical for Cisco than to answer this question and help companies become digital fortresses. To do that, we’re tackling security’s number one enemy – complexity. Today, companies have, on average, over 30 security vendors, in some cases over 100! If this sounds familiar, then you will have noticed that it didn’t make your environment more secure, only more complex. To succeed in this digital economy, your security strategy must take a different route and shift to a smart and automated approached, able to identify unwanted guests when they knock on your door.

What else is better positioned to do this than the network?

The network connects everything: people, processes, devices, applications, everything digital. It sits right in the middle of all these interactions and is the entry point for anything that wants to interact with everything else. As every company’s most pervasive infrastructure, the network must also be its most preeminent security gatekeeper. Let me explain how Cisco does it.

Security: The Building Block of Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture

Early this year, Cisco launched the Digital Network Architecture (DNA), which marked a fundamental shift in the way we deliver networks. By virtualizing 30 years of network innovation, we have unlocked the power of the network to move from a connectivity role to becoming a platform for analytics, automation and… security.

This means that with DNA the network is able to pervasively and automatically detect and fight threats. We call it the Network as a Sensor and an Enforcer, which is made possible thanks to network-integrated security technologies and the combination of Cisco’s Identity Services Engine (ISE) and StealthWatch. Together, they are like the Batman and Robin of the network. One identifies the risk, the other analyzes it and, and together they fight back threats. In tech terms, ISE is a single control point for the entire network that creates a contextual identification of the users; Stealthwatch provides in-depth insight into everything going on across the network. Then, they apply all the relevant policies based on the collected data, preventing any suspicious threat from entering the business environment. It’s all real-time, automated and leverages the best hardware in the market – Cisco’s!

This is a very powerful approach when compared with traditional security and networking. The combination of ISE and Stealthwatch helps organizations gain a 360-degree view on their environment, respond to threats faster, and secure the growing digital business. If you’re a business leader, this is where the digital transformation journey begins: with a security strategy baked into the core of your digital infrastructure.

The Heroes of the Digital Age

Organizations are racing to reap the benefits of digitization, fueled by trends such as mobility, IoT, cloud, and advanced analytics. The key to enjoying the full slew of these benefits is adapting networks to operate at digital speeds and using them to secure the digital enterprise from threats.

The importance of this is paramount. When companies are confident about their security, they are able to innovate, develop new products and services, and, ultimately, disrupt faster than their competitors. All while growing the valuable trust they have built with their customers. In the digital age, security is the super power of heroes.

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