Cisco has introduced a set of security solutions designed to protect data centres in South Africa against many of the threats they face in consolidated and virtualised environments.
These solutions also enable businesses to take advantage of new cloud-based models. 70% of the world’s Internet traffic and 35% of the world’s email traffic flows through Cisco networks. This enables Cisco to gain intelligence from throughout the network to make more informed security decisions, placing them in the best position to see and protect against threats before they affect customers’ networks.
Collectively, the new offerings extend data centre and security professionals’ power to enforce end-to-end security for high-capacity data centres and mobile workforces. The offerings include new highly scalable software for the world’s most widely deployed firewall, the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) line: virtualised ASA for multi-tenant environments: data centre-grade intrusion prevention system (IPS): as well as new improvements to the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client, to meet the stringent requirements of a more mobile and productive workforce.
The virtualisation and cloud mega trend is forcing profound shifts within data centres, affecting everything from IT services to business models to architectures. According to recent Cisco reports:
¬∑ There will be a nearly 3000% increase in application traffic and network connections per second by 2015
¬∑ More than 50% of workloads in the data centre will be virtualised by 2013
¬∑ An average of 3 X more mobile devices are used on enterprise networks by employees
Business leaders in South Africa are embracing these trends, and using them to grow their data centre operations to the next level. If addressed properly, these trends offer business benefits, such as reduced capital investments, new revenue growth and the greater efficiency, agility and scalability demanded by globalisation.
With this announcement, Cisco is helping security to keep pace with the demands of changing high-performance virtual and cloud environments, as well as the demands of increased complexity, compliance and employees bringing their own devices to work. As they grow to the next level, data centres have the following security requirements, to support their changing needs:
‚Ä¢ Scalable Security: The amount of data and transactions moving through most data centres requires ever-increasing levels of performance. Security must have the ability to scale to meet these seemingly insatiable performance requirements, while ensuring the highest levels of security.
‚Ä¢ Physical & Virtual: Modern-day data centres are no longer comprised solely of physical deployments. Instead, they are a mixture of physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures built to solve the business’ specific needs. Security policies must have the ability work consistently across hybrid environments.
‚Ä¢ Business Integration: While security is certainly important to data centre administrators, it isn’t their only concern. They also focus on maintaining business/IT alignment and avoiding chokepoints that can degrade performance and jeopardise their Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Security needs to be an integral part of the network architecture, so that it can help maintain business/IT alignment, avoid performance chokepoints, and enable business flexibility.
Operating under the principle that security must be integrated across the network to ensure protection of unified data centres, Cisco believes network policies must be unified across physical and virtual worlds, intra-virtual machine communication should be secured, and access to applications by wired and mobile clients must be protected. This security approach has become imperative as customers look to make the migration to cloud and a more flexible device-agnostic corporate culture. Cisco’s latest product developments support such an approach.
The new security solutions announced today include:
¬∑ ASA 9.0 Platform: Major update to the operating system
¬∑ Cisco ASA 1000V: Mainstream ASA technology optimised for virtual/cloud environments
¬∑ IPS 4500 Series: A new intrusion prevention system (IPS) built for data centres
¬∑ Cisco Security Manager 4.3: Cisco Security Manager (CSM) provides scalable, centralised management
¬∑ Cisco AnyConnect 3.1: Enables secure remote access to network resources.
¬∑ Security Services: Professional and support services, from Cisco and its partners
Anver Vanker, Consulting Systems Engineer, Cisco South Africa
‚”For enterprises to confidently seize the business benefits offered by data centre virtualisation and the cloud, security must be seen as the art of the possible, not as a hindrance. As with the rest of the network, we make consistent security a deployment decision that enables policies to work throughout hybrid environments physical, virtual and cloud, which enables data centre professionals to securely deliver IT-as-a-Service, without impeding network performance.‚”