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Cisco expands self-defending network

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With a focus aimed squarely on meeting customers’ growing corporate IT risk management needs for security and compliance, Cisco today announced a number of enhancements across its portfolio that evolve the company’s Self-Defending Network solution from network security offerings into a broader systems approach that strengthens the overall protection of networks as well as the increasingly diverse number of endpoints, applications, and content that utilise them.

Cisco’s security enhancements strengthen the ability of businesses to protect their IT infrastructures against malware and address security requirements like data loss prevention, corporate policy compliance, and regulatory compliance. As networks become platforms for more and more devices, applications, and information, protecting the whole system becomes imperative.
The latest announcement features endpoint protection, intrusion prevention, network- and application-based firewalls, security monitoring and analysis, centralized policy management, and other software and hardware enhancements that further that cause. These include Cisco Security Agent 6.0, Cisco Intrusion Prevention System 6.1, Cisco Security Monitoring Analysis Response System 6.0, Cisco Security Manager 3.2, incorporation of Web filtering into Cisco Integrated Services Routers, an upgrade to the Cisco Firewall Services Module for switches, and new features for Cisco’s Web application firewall and voice-aware Cisco IOS Firewall.
“Cisco security leads the industry because we are able to offer our customers solutions that include best-of-breed technologies that go beyond point products and work as a complete system,” says Scott Weiss, vice-president and GM of the Security Technology Group at Cisco.
“In keeping with this philosophy, today we are announcing a variety of products and capabilities that enhance our systems based security, as well as new innovations that push the boundaries of security visibility and manageability. Cisco is deeply committed to security and will continue to invest heavily to continue furthering our leadership position.”
Details of Cisco’s latest product enhancements include:
* Intrusion Prevention Systems: Cisco is tailoring its IPS portfolio for businesses of all sizes by simplifying its management. Cisco IPS 6.1 provides deeper insight into network health and features Cisco IPS Manager Express, a new, all-in-one application for IPS provisioning, monitoring, and reporting. In addition to the software enhancements, Cisco is delivering a new IPS module for Adaptive Security Appliance products that provides performance up to 650 megabits per second and services that help protect unified communications (data, voice and video), improve detection of peer-to-peer threats and enhance Microsoft vulnerability protection.
* Cisco Firewall Service Module 4.0 (for switches): Cisco FWSM 4.0 accelerates the highly secure information delivery of high-volume traffic, such as large data backups or bulk data transfers. It features trusted flow acceleration, which enables trusted hosts to exchange information at as much as 20 to 50 gigabits per second.
* Virtual Private Networking: Cisco is incorporating its Group Encrypted Transport Virtual Private Network (GET VPN) technology into the Cisco 7200 VPN Services Adapter, generating performance improvements of as much as 300 percent. GET VPN represents a new category of VPNs designed to encrypt data transmitted across wide-area networks. It helps eliminate the need for point-to-point tunnels, allowing distributed branch networks to scale enterprise VPNs to several thousand sites while simultaneously supporting network intelligence needs that are critical to ensuring voice and video quality, such as quality of service, routing and multicasting. Because GET VPN’s primary application runs over networks based on Multiprotocol Label Switching, GET VPN’s inherent flexibility allows security-conscious businesses to manage their own network protection over a service provider’s WAN service or offload encryption services to their providers.
* Cisco Security Agent 6.0: Cisco Security Agent is a software agent designed to secure endpoint devices such as servers and laptops. It helps identify threats and controls access to sensitive information. Version 6.0 marks the industry’s first endpoint security offering that integrates day-zero attack defense, data-loss prevention, and signature-based antivirus detection into a single manageable agent. It incorporates automatic antivirus signature updates with no incremental licensing cost. The unique combination of these functions helps businesses protect themselves from persistent and emerging threats and enforce acceptable-use and compliance policies.
* Web Application Firewall: This firewall addresses security challenges associated with Web 2.0 and social networking applications by protecting sensitive customer and corporate information within Web applications. Available as a standalone appliance or integrated into the Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) XML Gateway, the full-proxy firewall controls access to applications, inspects HTML and XML Web traffic, identifies attack patterns, and strengthens a business’s ability to address PCI compliance mandates for Web security.
* Content filtering: Cisco is enriching security services offered via Cisco Integrated Services Routers, of which almost 4 million have been deployed, by adding content filtering from Trend Micro. This addition helps businesses protect users from accessing Web sites that are known sources of malware, control access to inappropriate content, and enforce acceptable Internet-use policies.
* SIP Protection for Secure Unified Communications: A useful addition to the security portfolio, the added Session Initiation Protocol protection enriches Cisco’s IOS Firewall feature set with voice security. This protection helps businesses embrace a distributed enterprise by improving productivity while minimizing voice security concerns.
* Cisco Security Monitoring Analysis Response System 6.0: Cisco Security MARS provides real-time visibility into security operations. It identifies threats by aggregating security information from Cisco and non-Cisco devices and determining the appropriate actions to mitigate attacks. Cisco Security MARS also provides reporting across the range of data collected to support regulatory compliance efforts. Version 6.0 adds a new device-support development framework that enables users or third parties to incorporate non-Cisco devices within a Cisco Security MARS deployment, accelerating IT’s ability to manage security intelligence across a corporate network, even on devices that Cisco Security MARS does not natively support today. The new version of Cisco Security MARS makes it the first security management appliance capable of accepting logs in syslog and Cisco NetFlow version 9 format from high-output devices like the Cisco ASA 5580 Adaptive Security Appliance and Cisco ASR 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers.
* Cisco Security Manager 3.2: Cisco Security Manager manages enterprise-wide security in an efficient manner by centralizing the administrative task of configuring policies and controls for Cisco security deployments. Version 3.2 helps improve operational efficiency, significantly reduce troubleshooting times, and simplify IPS signature management. This is achieved through tighter integration and collaboration with security event data from Cisco Security MARS. Cisco Security Manager 3.2 further extends the value of the Self-Defending Network by broadening support of desktop and wiring-closet switches and the Cisco ASA 5580 Adaptive Security Appliance.