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The Cisco security directive

By , Network World
June 05, 2012 04:56 PM ET
Chris Young

Page 2 of 5

BACKGROUND: Tablets, smartphones force Cisco to rethink how security works

The ASA CX was announced at the RSA Conference in February. It's a context-aware firewall that lets customers not only make access control decisions at the application level, but also at the micro app level. So you can allow employees to use Facebook, for example, but block access to certain games on Facebook. The ASA CX [can also be used as] a software module in different parts of the infrastructure. So we're working to make the CX run on routing infrastructure and to virtualize the CX so it can be part of a virtual data center architecture. You're going to see us do more of that kind of delivery of products, to make capabilities more ubiquitous across the Cisco infrastructure. And then obviously we'll have stand-alone appliances that can work in a heterogeneous architecture as well.

Will Cisco have multiple security architectures?

Go back to the idea that security for Cisco is a vertical and a horizontal opportunity. SecureX is a great example of security as a vertical. It's a security architecture that's about bringing visibility context and control to the infrastructure. What I think we have to do now is take the principles of the SecureX architecture and make those more a part of the core Cisco architectures, like enterprise networking, collaboration and data center.

There's no monolithic security, right? Security has to be part of everything we're doing. What we'll have is a strong set of solutions and architectures that integrate with core parts of the infrastructure. So I'm looking to bring the SecureX principles into the core Cisco architectures, so there is a SecureX data center, SecureX networking, SecureX collaboration. Because I believe those principles of visibility, context and control are the right ones for making the security decisions we need to make given the challenges we see, whether you're looking at macro trends like BYOD and changes around mobility at the end point, or whether you're thinking about applications and workloads in the cloud, collaboration and even video.

That provides a good segue to BYOD. What are you doing there?

BYOD is probably one of the best examples of why integrated security can be powerful for a company, and we've got most of the pieces in place already and that's why we're seeing a lot of uptake from customers.

It's going to be Father's Day soon and a lot of iPads are going to get handed out and all those guys are going to show up at work the next day and try to connect to email and to wireless access points. And organizations are going to need to decide, "Do we allow access to the network? If so, how much access and to what resources?" [Also see: "Fear the tablet: Cisco survey"]

Now with our Identity Services, our AnyConnect client and the ASA firewall, we can give customers a full set of capabilities that allows them to discover a device when it tries to connect and, based on the user's identity, make a policy decision on what resources you'll allow that user and that device to access.

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