Three steps to robust security – Cisco Newsroom

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Cybersecurity has never been easy. But today’s threat landscape is beyond anything we could have imagined even a few years ago.

The good news is that organizations can fight back decisively — if they implement the right defenses and strategies.

We spoke with Tom Gillis, senior vice president and general manager of the Cisco Security Business Group (SBG), for his top three tips to creating a resilient security posture.

As Gillis stresses, his suggestions are not radically new concepts. What is radically new is how Cisco uplevels their effectiveness with AI-driven solutions that are easier to implement and maintain, while offering the most advanced detection and automated responses.  

Update Zero Trust Network Access

Ever since cybercriminals figured out that it’s easier to log in than break in, identity-related attacks have been on the rise. Zero Trust and least-privileged policies are a common way to fight back. By limiting users to only the data and apps they need to do their jobs it lessens the damage from a breach. As Gillis explains, “The idea is that the salespeople can access sales applications, the IT people can access IT applications, but you probably don’t want salespeople getting into IT apps.”

That may sound simple, but with thousands of apps, multiple firewalls, “app connectors,” and highly distributed users, it’s not. But Cisco has a comprehensive, platform-based solution.

“Cisco solves this problem uniquely by combining our proven widely deployed traditional VPN with modern Zero Trust into one integrated solution we call Cisco Secure Access,“ Gillis explained. “It allows you to deliver a great end-user experience on Day One.”

“Whether I’m going to one of those legacy apps that needs VPN support,” he continued, “or a more modern app that can fit into that least-privileged framework, Cisco handles all of that. All the user knows is that it works.”

“The icing on the cake,” Gillis believes, is Cisco ThousandEyes. It can pinpoint the source of a problem, whether it’s the broadband provider, a cloud-based app, or even your own laptop.

“We deliver that great end-user experience and we measure it,” Gillis said. “So, we’ve integrated ThousandEyes, which is our network monitoring capability into this solution so that if the user experience isn’t great, we can tell you exactly why.”

Protect your apps with AI

As with user identity, bad actors will exploit a compromised app or connected machine rather than hack directly into a network. So, Zero Trust must extend beyond humans and into the data center.

As Gillis explains, segmentation is a foundational strategy for defining the ways in which an application can communicate. That limits hackers’ access once they get into a particular app.

Again, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Event-driven applications can respond to normal business changes in unpredictable ways. So, it’s difficult to determine when one is truly acting in nefarious ways.

Cisco has good news.

“With Cisco’s new Hypershield technology,” Gillis said, “we use the power of AI to deeply understand what an application is doing and how it’s operating so that we can predict which policies should be put in place to prevent that application from doing something that it never should.”

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