Every day companies are turning to digital to create new customer experiences, new business models and gain greater efficiencies. But all the while, attackers continue to advance. To defend against aggressive adversaries, security must advance to more effective solutions that are simple, automated and open.

Why?  Let’s take a look at a scenario that could play out in an organization that doesn’t have effective security.

You hear the distinct hiss of an espresso machine through the phone line and the following exchange ensues:

 “What’s bitcoin?” the user inquired over the noise as they called the IT helpdesk.

“It is basically a virtual online currency…uh…why?” replied the help desk team member uneasily.

“Well, a warning screen on my laptop says I need to pay one bitcoin to get the private key to my computer. By the way, I don’t know what a private key is either.”

“Um…well…” began the help desk team member after a deep breath.

“You see,” the caller interrupted, “I was working from one of our branch offices today when this message just appeared, and since I couldn’t get any work done on my laptop now, I am making some coffee and calling you to fix my computer.”

This scenario and others like it are becoming increasingly common in organizations every day. It’s a symptom of the dysfunction and complexity created when trying to secure a modern environment without an integrated, architectural approach or with point products that don’t work together. Networks of branch offices. Mobile users coming and going. And threats like ransomware are accelerating from a nuisance to a critical threat. Ransomware alone is on pace to become a $1 billion business this year according to the FBI.

In addition to these challenges, a chief obstacle to overcome for effective security in this landscape is growing complexity.

Users access sensitive information and network resources from wherever they are. New locations and branch offices come online all the time. Apps, servers, and data are in the cloud and devices that don’t even look like computers are connecting to networks. And to thicken the plot, we need to figure out how to deliver effective security across this complex infrastructure.

To nobody’s surprise, attackers continue to demonstrate a level of sophistication and professionalism that challenges an organizations ability to cope. Security must evolve from a patchwork of products which results in coverage gaps, management headaches and inefficiencies that attackers repeatedly exploit.

To fully unleash the potential productivity benefits from digitization we must deliver solutions that architect security innovation together and deliver it to customers in a simpler way. Done right, this security architecture will increase your capability and reduce complexity. It will provide a force multiplier for security effectiveness where every piece of software added reinforces the piece before it. This week at Cisco Live, we will add new solutions to the portfolio that are simple to deploy, manage and scale.

The Strength of an Architectural Approach

A key to enabling more effective security is simplifying deployment and management of advanced security to users wherever they are working from. To accomplish this we firmly believe we must get more from the security and network architecture investments you have already made and the technologies you have deployed. That means that instead of deploying an entirely new security device at a branch location or deploying yet another agent, you can activate highly effective security with a simple license. Are you one of the millions of customers with AnyConnect on all your endpoints? Then why not activate additional security for roaming users through AnyConnect instead of buying and managing yet another agent?

This is one example of how we are architecting our products to work together in ways that only Cisco can. It’s effective and keeps things simple with fewer things to manage and pay for. Let’s look at some of the details of what we’ll unveil.

Cisco Meraki MX Security Appliances with AMP and Threat Grid

Another great example is the addition of Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) and Threat Grid to the Cisco Meraki MX security appliances. With a simple software upgrade users can easily deploy advanced threat protection for the distributed enterprise and deliver some of the most sophisticated security available today with the world class Cisco Meraki MX UTM. The integration of Cisco’s AMP into the Meraki MX UTM combines the simple, streamlined cloud-management of Cisco Meraki, with best in class threat protection to stop attacks before they enter the network and quickly detect, and remediate. This compliments the MX’s other integrated security services such as firewall, IPS, content filtering and application control.

Cisco Defense Orchestrator

Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO) is a new, cloud-based management application that helps network operations manage security policies across Cisco security products all in one spot. CDO cuts through complexity, allowing management of security policies across your Cisco security products (ASA, ASAv, NGFW, OpenDNS), locations, or across cloud infrastructure all in one spot. This makes the task of staying on top of security easier and complements the existing Cisco management offerings.

Cisco Umbrella Roaming and Branch

Security rollouts no longer need to take months or years to accomplish. With technology like Cisco Umbrella, highly effective security can be rolled out to thousands of users in days or even hours. This speed of deployment is critical when countering the speed at which our adversaries move. A multi-month program to deploy technology to defend against an epidemic of ransomware is completely out of synch with the real-time nature of the threat. Cisco Umbrella is one of the best defense measures you can add to greatly improve your security posture against attacks like ransomware because it is highly effective, it extends protection off premise, improves on premise security, and can be rolled out FAST.

Firewalls needs to evolve with the changing business landscape —and Cisco’s has. Only Cisco can provide a NGFW that protects devices all the time — on and off network. Cisco Umbrella Roaming is the simplest way to remove your off-network blind spot and protect devices wherever they go. With Umbrella Roaming, organizations can add a new layer of off-network protection without needing to deploy another agent. This new functionality is embedded as a module in the latest version of the AnyConnect client.

Cisco Umbrella Branch puts the company in control at branch offices. It is the simplest way to add a layer of security protection at branches, stopping threats by adding protection at the DNS-layer. There is no need to deploy and manage even more devices at the branch or backhaul traffic. With Umbrella on the ISR, organizations get simple, fast and comprehensive security at their branches.

Cisco Stealthwatch Learning Network License

Cisco Stealthwatch Learning Network License is a software license added to your Cisco router to make it a sensor and enforcer for branch-level threat detection and response. As more devices connect to your network from everywhere, you don’t have the visibility you need into all of this additional traffic so that you can track and analyze it for suspicious activity. Learning Network License on the Integrated Services Router (ISR) offers new security anomaly detection technology that identifies malicious traffic. The latest threats require new techniques to detect anomalous behavior and Learning Network License enables the distribution of very sophisticated machine learning based detection techniques locally at the remote branch office. Learning Network License is an extremely efficient and effective layer of security that is optimized to scale with these branch networks.

Cisco Security Services for Digital Transformation

Cisco Security Services for Digital Transformation are new security services that take the complexity out of digital transformation to take advantage of new digital business opportunities – using the cloud, mobility, BYOD. Cisco experts help you develop and execute a secure digitization strategy with a tailored plan and roadmap designed to manage barriers and reduce risks; as new ways of doing business emerge, Cisco Security Services helps ensure everything remains secure – data, servers, devices and apps.

Together, these innovations show the value of Cisco’s architectural approach to security.

And you can do all this while getting more from the security and network investments you have already made and the products you have installed. From adding advanced malware protection to the network security of Meraki to protecting mobile endpoints with Umbrella Roaming to cloud security management made easier than ever with CDO, Cisco delivers effective security and makes it simple.

Please join me at Cisco Live on Tuesday, July 12 at 9 a.m. PST for the Security iTalk titled “Security in a Digital World,” where we’ll discuss these announcements in greater detail. To learn more about Cisco’s architectural approach to security, visit cisco.com/go/security.


Scott Harrell

Senior Vice President and General Manager

Enterprise Networking Business