Networking and security conversations are completely coupled

Integration key as diversity of past security investments continues to stress security practitioners

Credit: Picture taken by a wild Braue at the scene

Asia-Pacific companies are struggling more than their global peers to get their heads around cyber fatigue, John Maynard, vice president for global security sales with Cisco, has warned in kicking off the Cybersecurity Innovation Day at this week’s Cisco Live! conference.

Faced with growing pressure from a flood of new devices – by 2020, two-thirds of traffic will come from mobile devices and tablets, he noted, with more than 1m devices expected to be connected every hour by 2020 and “more insecure devices being connected than secure devices”.

“We’re more interconnected than ever,” he said, “and with 5G and IoT the risk surface is becoming expanded exponentially. This fundamentally changes the paradigm about how we think about security.”

Even as new threats from cyberjacking and cryptojacking compounded the problems security practitioners already face, surveys had shown the “number-one headache” was keeping up with the flood of alerts from disparate security products.

Fragmentation was particularly problematic within Asia-Pacific companies, he said, with 93 percent of regional respondents finding it difficult to orchestrate alerts from multiple vendors’ products – well above the 79 percent worldwide figure.

On the whole, Asia-Pacific vendors were running more security products than their global peers, Maynard said, with just 54 percent saying they had 10 or fewer vendors in their security environment; this represented significant complexity compared with the 63 percent figure worldwide.

Easing this complexity had become a key focus for Cisco’s security organisation, Maynard said, noting that “the networking conversation and security conversation are completely coupled today”.

This requirement had driven the integration of features such as automated network segmentation, encrypted traffic analysis and the seamless exchange of configuration information between network elements.

“You shouldn’t have to define a policy in the next-generation firewall and then redefine it in another part of the network,” Maynard said.

Cisco had been working to close these gaps, with an API ecosystem providing integrations with more than 160 network endpoint and cloud technologies. Leveraging an increasingly software-defined network architecture, the company had been filling out its capabilities through acquisitions of companies such as the OpenDNS network traffic monitor, Cloudlock cloud application security broker, Stealthwatch analytics, Tetration for east-west data centre traffic, and more.

With an increasing focus on microsegmentation and containerisation, Maynard said, “you will see Cisco going much deeper and further into workload security.”

Customers had already responded strongly to the expanded scope of Cisco’s network security engagement, Maynard said, noting “significant adoption of the security architecture from Cisco because it allows you to plug and play the security architecture where you need it, with the architecture where you have made investments already.”

Tags infosecVulnerabilitiesmalwareInternet of Things (IoT)CiscoLive!threat huntingCryptojackingCyberjacking

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