Recently, when I speak with business and IT leaders around the globe, there is a common question that permeates the discussion. How can I provide the additional security necessary to protect my distributed workforce without burdening end users and slowing down the business? This isn’t a simple question to answer, especially with the significant changes in the typical IT environment over the last couple of years. To address this challenge, Cisco has developed innovative ways to secure both internet and private application traffic from a broad spectrum of users, locations and devices without burdening the user.

Earlier this year, we introduced Cisco Secure Access, a security service edge (SSE) solution that combines a secure web gateway, cloud access security broker, firewall-as-a-service, zero trust access and more, to help organizations address this challenge and better protect their users. Today, we are continuing that mission with two major developments. In collaboration with Samsung, we are announcing simplified mobile access from Samsung Galaxy devices to private applications and resources. Now, end users can access the information they need in a seamless, easy fashion, and IT administrators can enforce a consistent set of zero trust policies across a larger set of users and devices, regardless of location.

In addition, Cisco Secure Access is improving the administrator experience with resource connectors. With a few clicks, administrators can now connect private resources to Secure Access, allowing users to remotely connect to these applications while also enforcing secure, zero-trust access policies. This reduces the time to onboard a private application from hours to minutes, minimize the attack surface by obfuscating the internal network structure and absorbs much of the complexity involved in routing traffic.

Cisco also has a verified history of running a highly available, enterprise-ready security-as-a-service product, and we are extending that to our flagship SSE product. We will be committing to 99.999% uptime as part of the Cisco Secure Access service level agreement.

Zero Trust Access from Samsung Galaxy Devices

User friendly, zero trust access from Samsung Galaxy devices will provide Galaxy users better protection without burdening them with cumbersome security steps. Mobile users will access work resources via Cisco Secure Access using zero trust access policies. Organizations can easily enforce app specific granular policies based on user identity and posture status, facilitating least privileged access to the appropriate private applications and resources. This innovative zero trust architecture utilizes a modern MASQUE proxy and the QUIC (HTTP/3) protocol to provide quick access while protecting corporate resources. It prevents the exposure of private apps to the internet while also enabling policy-controlled access on an individual application basis, reducing the risk of lateral movement throughout the network.

For end users with a Samsung Galaxy device and Cisco’s Zero Trust Access client, the experience is far better than traditional, remote access solutions. Instead of opening a client, selecting a VPN destination point and waiting for a completed connection, the user just clicks on the app to connect. It’s the same simple experience as when they are on their laptop or in the office. In addition, modern protocols enable faster, more performant connections than with traditional remote access technologies. Ultimately, this leads to increased productivity and less time wasted on repetitive tasks to manually establish and shut down connections. Users are happy, IT has less hardware and maintenance tasks and everyone is more secure.

Easily connect private applications with resource connectors

Our second announcement is the unveiling of our Resource Connectors, which drastically improve the experience of connecting private applications to our zero trust network access system, removing the need for a specialized networking engineer to configure the connection. This reduces the amount of time needed to onboard new private applications from hours to minutes.

In each of your environments where private applications exist, simply deploy our lightweight Resource Connector, which then manages the connection between Secure Access and those applications. Resource Connectors can be deployed on-premises or in public cloud infrastructure.

This provides several benefits, including:

  • Simplified deployment by removing the need for specialized networking knowledge. Instead of manually setting up tunnels and routing, the administrator just needs to complete a simple webform that anyone with basic knowledge of the network can configure.
  • It automatically handles complex networking logic such as dynamic routing and overlapping IP address ranges out of the box, minimizing both the complexity of implementing zero trust network access but also the likelihood of outages and disruptions due to configuration mistakes.
  • Resource connectors also obfuscate the internal network from everyone, including Cisco and the Secure Access service. This limits the ability for attackers to perform reconnaissance and map out your internal network structure.
  • It also isolates your resources and networks, which prevents attackers from moving laterally throughout the network in the event they do obtain initial access.
  • Lastly, resource connectors are standards-based and built on modern protocols, which makes it compatible with upcoming mobile clients, such as the aforementioned Cisco Zero Trust client on Samsung Galaxy devices.

“Five 9s” availability

At Cisco, we have a strong track record of running highly available enterprise security services. Offerings, such as Cisco Umbrella, have maintained high availability over many years. With Cisco Secure Access, we will be committing to 99.999% uptime as part of our enterprise service level agreement (SLA). Since security-as-a-service solutions are a lynchpin to remote connectivity, an outage can disrupt users’ ability to do their jobs. With our “five 9s” SLA, customers can rest assured that they can safely choose Cisco Secure Access to protect their users while maintaining a great user experience and a high level of productivity.

Improve security, without sacrificing the end user experience

These announcements are just the latest set of advancement for Cisco Secure Access, a security service edge (SSE) solution grounded in zero trust that enforces modern cybersecurity while radically reducing risk and delighting both end-users and IT staff. This product combines more than 13 different technologies to provide a unified, cloud-delivered security solution that allows users, regardless of where they are located, to connect to the internet, SaaS applications, and private applications securely and easily.

In short Cisco Secure Access is:

  • Better for users by providing seamless, frictionless connection to the resources they need to do their job
  • Easier for IT through converged cloud-native security in a single dashboard that delivers increased visibility, aggregated reporting, and unified policy management
  • Safer for everyone by enforcing a consistent set of controls and reducing the attack surface with granular, zero trust access policies

Why Cisco?

Scale matters in security, and Cisco has a proven track record with cloud-delivered security solutions. We have over 70 thousand cloud security customers, manage 220 million remote endpoints, and secure over 600 billion web requests per day. We know how to do security at scale. To learn more, visit  Cisco Secure Access.

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Jeff Scheaffer

Vice President Product Management, Security Service Edge (SSE)

Security Business Group