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Cisco broadens security line for ‘confident’ B2B collaboration

Pushes secure collaboration and ‘de-perimeterisation’

By CBR Staff Writer

There is no sign yet in the downturn that enterprises have started to consider any part of their security spend as discretionary, according to the European head of Cisco Systems Inc’s security solutions business.

“Even during recession, it is clear to us that no company is prepared to make compromises about enterprise security,” Maurizio Taffone of Cisco told us. 

“If anything, security is becoming more relevant as a business enabler, at a time when enterprise boundaries are becoming more and more irrelevant.” 

De-perimeterisation allows a business to be ‘on’ all the time, he said, leading to the freeing up of business-to-business transactions, a reduction in cost and the ability for an organisation to be more agile.

De-perimeterisation is a concept used to describe ways of protecting an organisation’s data assets on multiple levels using encryption, secure computer protocols, inherently-secure computer systems and data-level authentication, rather than the reliance on a secure network boundary.

Describing a broadened security product line of Cisco’s that now extends from hardware appliances to security-as-a-service and risk assessment services, Taffone said that his company wanted to emphasise the need for businesses to be able to ‘collaborate with confidence’ across all manner of wireless networks and new social media. 

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Companies need to feel comfortable with these and find new ways of interacting securely with subjects outside the traditional boundaries of business, he suggested.

“One of the biggest shifts we are seeing is a move from centralised, command and control governance towards a more federated approach” he said, which presumably means the mechanics of security management will start touching many more employees than it does today.

In recognition of this, Cisco has announced a series of product and service initiatives to ease some of the burden of enterprise security governance.

New services that build on the company’s Global Correlation processes are intended to better safeguard the enterprise network to prevent intrusion. “We take data gathered globally from customer systems and network sensors which allow us to identify threats, analyse and elaborate on their nature, and then feed information back to a customer site and make it available to intrusion prevention systems, firewalls, and content management systems.”

By incorporating Global Correlation Cisco IPS 7.0 is up to two times as effective in stopping malicious attacks, in a shorter amount of time, than traditional signature-only IPS technologies, the company has claimed.

On the services side, the company has developed what Taffone described as a “common control framework” for security governance. Cisco said its IT governance assessment services should help steer an organisation through a process that establishes a single programme for reducing information security risk and the cost of compliance, with a unified set of security controls that efficiently meet compliance obligations.

The company is also continuing with the development of Cisco SAFE, the security reference architecture that it launched in 2001 and which Taffone explained could serve as a blueprint “on how an enterprise’s security policy should align with various compliance points at the campus network level, at the branch office levels, or at the data centre or physical security levels.”

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