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pxGrid 2.0 Context-In and Dynamic Topics Enable Collaborative Security

October 3, 2018 - 0 Comments

Securing your business shouldn’t be like playing a game of Clue. Your ecosystem partner technologies should be working together towards a common goal – the security of your business – rather than playing the same game with different hands of cards. That’s to say, your security technologies should be sharing the meaningful context associated with security events amongst the other ecosystem platforms rather than operating as separate silos with disparate sets of information.

That’s why we created pxGrid in the first place: to enable bidirectional communication across an array of multivendor platforms. And with the new pxGrid 2.0 architecture, we have added a new capability that allows ISE to take in additional context for the purpose of classifying IoT devices (hence the name, Context-In). This added Context-In feature, combined with the wide array of Dynamic Topics on pxGrid, augments your already-robust arsenal of security technologies by defining secure network access for IoT devices, as well as sharing and receiving contextual data. A couple of weeks ago we announced over 20 new pxGrid integrations as part of the CSTA launch announcement with partners leveraging this Context-In feature for IoT Visibility.

We have also made it easier to adopt pxGrid. With version 1.0 partners embedded client libraries to participate in the grid, with version 2.0 you now have the choice to use a clientless method – one which uses WebSockets and REST over the STOMP messaging protocol. This mean no more dependency on the client SDK and Java and C libraries. The development platform is open as long as it supports WebSockets and REST API over STOMP. This also further increases pxGrid scalability.

Here’s a snapshot of these new features:

Cisco pxGrid Context-In: Defining your IOT Security Policy with Identity Services Engine

Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report notes that businesses are continually adding new IoT devices to their IT environments without taking the necessary steps to secure these systems. This gives adversaries the opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in these devices and infiltrate the network.

pxGrid Context-In makes it easy to secure the IoT devices on your network. This new capability enables ecosystem partner platforms to publish IoT asset information into ISE for device classification. When the ISE pxGrid node subscribes to the Endpoint Asset Topic, ISE receives this IoT asset information and enables you to create profiling policies using this additional context. As the security operator, you can define authorization policies to give each device the appropriate level of network access.

Context-In is powerful because it provides greater visibility into what’s on your network while making ISE a more effective point of network enforcement and authorization. More specifically, by allowing partner platforms to share IoT asset information with ISE, you can see and control all of these devices on your network. This solves what was historically the biggest problem in managing the many IoT devices in an organization: defining secure network access.

pxGrid Dynamic Topics: Context-Sharing with Ecosystem Partners

The Endpoint Asset Topic is only one of many “topics” that allows partner platforms to share context bi-directionally through the publish-subscribe (“pub/sub”) architecture. Platforms can share or receive contextual information from other platforms on the grid by publishing or subscribing to designated Topics.

For example, an IP address management (IPAM) platform, which automates and centralizes all aspects of IP address provisioning, may publish this information to an IPAM Topic. Meanwhile, if it needs information on mobile devices such as MDM registration and employee threat risk, it can subscribe to these Topics, which are published by the mobile device management (MDM) and security information and event management (SIEM) platforms respectively. This means that each platform is giving and receiving context, to ensure that each tool has all the information needed to do its job properly.

In short, the Dynamic Topics allow platforms to work together to make your network more secure. It’s almost as if all the players in your Clue game are laying out their cards for everyone else to see. It makes the puzzle easier to solve… And that’s what pxGrid is all about: giving your security technologies “all the cards,” to make your job that much easier.

To learn more about pxGrid 2.0 and these new features please visit our pxGrid page on Cisco DevNet.

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