Jun 08 2022

RSAC 2022: IT Leaders Are Developing Innovative Cloud Security Solutions

Cybercriminals are constantly changing their attack techniques to sidestep security measures, requiring IT and business leaders to consider transformative defense systems for the cloud.

The proliferation of data all around us is nothing new. Organizations have long been looking to data to provide a competitive edge. But the past few years have seen an exponential increase in the amount of data being generated.

The pandemic and the subsequent move to a hybrid work environment have brought a surge in endpoints. In addition, many organizations have continued a migration to the cloud that began out of necessity and now includes not only data but services, apps and workloads spread across multiple clouds and located on-premises and even at the edge.

At last month’s Dell Technologies World conference, Dell introduced several enhanced security offerings, and at the outset of this year’s RSA Conference, Cisco announced new cloud-specific cybersecurity innovations of its own. 

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Cisco Unveils New Security Strategy for the Cloud

Just before the kickoff of RSA’s annual conference, Cisco unveiled its plan for “a global, cloud-delivered, integrated security and networking service for organizations of any shape and size.” The company proclaimed its Security Cloud to be the industry’s most open platform, protecting the integrity of the entire IT ecosystem without public cloud lock-in. Cisco also expects the offering to open doors to innovation, enabling the use of third-party solutions through its open APIs.

In a June 6 press release, Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration at Cisco, said, “With the complexity of hybrid work, continued acceleration of cloud adoption, and the ever-advancing threat landscape, organizations are looking for a trusted partner to help them achieve security resilience. We believe Cisco is uniquely positioned due to its scale, breadth of solutions and cloud-neutral business model to meet their needs.”

“Cisco is already delivering upon key tenets of our cloud platform vision,” Patel continued. “We’re excited to increase our innovation velocity to truly deliver on the vision of the Cisco Security Cloud, an open, integrated networking and security platform.”

RELATED: Find out where financial institutions stand in their transition to the cloud.

How Cisco’s New Strategy Offers Simplicity and Enhanced Security

The Security Cloud implements what Cisco refers to as “the next generation of zero trust,” which demands continuous trusted access. And while it’s elevating the level of protection it offers, the company says its security will be delivered via “less intrusive methods for risk-based authentication, including the patent-pending Wi-Fi Fingerprint as an effective location proxy without compromising user privacy.”

TK Keanini, vice president and CTO of Cisco Secure, noted at the conference that identity has become central to the security conversation. “You not only need to be you when you pick up the phone and start the call, right? But the system needs to prove that you're still you in minute five, minute 10. And it's given rise to a category in security called continuous trusted access.”

In an effort to reduce complexity, Cisco also introduced Cisco+ Secure Connect Now, a unified secure access service edge solution, which will be offered as an as-a-service subscription optimized for value and managed through a unified dashboard. “Cisco+ Secure Connect Now is a turnkey offer available in several countries that allows customers to quickly deploy SASE and ease day-to-day operations through a cloud-managed platform,” according to the company’s press release.

TK Keanini
Most of our customers aren't just on-prem or just in the cloud. And in the cloud, they usually don't just have one provider.”

TK Keanini Vice President and CTO, Cisco Secure

Cisco also announced its new unified Secure Client, which it said will streamline how administrators and users manage endpoints. This follows the new cloud-delivered Secure Firewall Management Center, which unifies management of both cloud and on-premises firewalls. It joins the newly introduced Secure Firewall 3100 Series, which Cisco says is “designed for hybrid work with a new encrypted visibility engine that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect hidden threats.”

Cloud Migration and Remote Work Demand Continuous Trusted Access

Keanini offered some Cisco history in explaining how secure access has changed since the beginning of the pandemic. “I guess the soul and the heart of Cisco is connecting A to B,” he said. “I guess in the early part, it's enough to just make sure that the traffic gets from A to B, and back again. But now it's about getting the session secure. Because B might not be in a trusted place — you might be running on a public cloud. And A might be in a public cafe.” Security Cloud helps to secure those connections, no matter where they’re being made.

“Most of our customers aren't just on-prem or just in the cloud,” Keanini said, noting the impact of multicloud and hybrid environments. “And in the cloud, they usually don't just have one provider.”

Most Cisco customers operate in some sort of hybrid architecture, he said. “They may have some private applications that their business was born on. But they're moving to the cloud in some velocity. They have SaaS applications. They have some workloads running on AWS, they have some on GCP, maybe Azure.”

Regardless of the cloud provider, he said, Cisco still needs to identify and control access based on identity. “But what I'm defending has changed, right? And so the business is as wide as these hybrid things we protect. And security, frankly, needs to be just as wide as the business. And this is the concept of Cisco Security Cloud. We want to ensure that how we're defending the business is in line with that hybrid infrastructure.”

Keep this page bookmarked for articles and videos from the event, and follow us on Twitter @BizTechMagazine and the official conference Twitter feed, @RSAConference.

Getty Images/Dilok Klaisataporn

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