As IT organizations confront the imminent prospect of a network upgrade to deal with the demand for increased bandwidth being created by everything from mobile to cloud computing and back again, Cisco Systems is making a case for increased security being thrown in as part of the bargain.
At RSA Conference 2012 Cisco rolled out an upgrade to its ASA CX firewall that adds support for updates to the Cisco SecureX framework and new versions of the Cisco TrustSec and Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) security policy management platforms.
Bill McGee, manager of security solutions at Cisco, says the Cisco ASA CX firewall now identifies more than 1,000 applications such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and iTunes, which it can further break down into more than 75,000 micro applications. Cisco TrustSec and ISE, meanwhile, have been upgraded to add support for a broader array of sensors embedded in Cisco networking equipment that make it possible to automatically apply security policies anytime a device connects to a Cisco network.
McGhee notes Cisco’s strategic plan is to embed security so deep into the network layer as a way to differentiate itself from rival suppliers of networking gear. At the end of the day, customers should see security as an added benefit to upgrading their network infrastructure, says McGee.
The degree to which all security issues can be address by embedding more security technologies in the network remains to be seen. There’s no doubt there is massive room for improvement at the network level. But as IT environments become more complex while the volume of data that must be secured continues to grow, IT security in turn will continue to be nuanced.