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Rethinking Security for the Mobile and Cloud Era

Medieval security might seem primitive by today’s standards, but it was quite effective in its day. Castles were surrounded by a high wall and moat (dragon optional), and sentries were posted at the gate to demand the identity of a visitor before lowering the drawbridge. This protected the castle from attack while permitting the comings and goings needed for the day-to-day operation of a kingdom.

Modern network firewalls have supplanted the castle wall and moat, and do a pretty good job of keeping out most of the traffic that may pose a threat to the organization. Today, however, many of the kingdom’s citizens — that is, the organization’s end-users — work outside the perimeter defenses. Mobile users need access to corporate resources, and branch offices are often connecting directly to the Internet rather than backhauling traffic to headquarters. How do you protect them, their devices and the network from attack?


Beyond the Firewall

Many organizations rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) to provide a secure connection between mobile users and the corporate network over the public Internet. However, a recent IDG study found that 82 percent of mobile workers don’t always use the VPN. In addition to the hassle of firing up the VPN client, users often face poor performance and Quality of Service.

Furthermore, most corporate users require access to applications and services hosted in remote data centers or the cloud. Growing numbers of users are bypassing the security controls of the corporate network, limiting visibility into the threats that are targeting a significant portion of the enterprise.

Cisco believes that today’s cloud and mobile environment requires a cloud-based approach to security. To that end, Cisco has pioneered a new product category called secure Internet gateway, which acts as a first line of defense to protect users on and off the corporate network.


How Security Internet Gateways Work

Secure Internet gateway solutions are designed to provide visibility across all users, devices and locations, making it possible to leverage threat intelligence and advanced threat protection outside the corporate network. Intelligent proxy enables deep inspection of suspicious URLs and files, improving security while minimizing the performance and complexity issues associated with traditional web gateways.

Cisco Umbrella uses the Domain Name System (DNS) as the primary mechanism for globally enforcing security policies and preventing connections to dangerous IP addresses. Since DNS is used by all devices connecting to web pages, it is an effective and comprehensive way to identify and evaluate all requests.

Cisco Umbrella stops known and emerging threats over all ports and protocols, blocking access to malicious domains, URLs, IPs and files before a connection is ever established or a file downloaded. Live data from more than 100 billion Internet requests is correlated with more than 11 billion historical events to identify patterns, detect anomalies and uncover attacker infrastructure.


Comprehensive Solution

Because Cisco Umbrella is cloud-based, it eliminates the need to install a security appliance or update software manually. Organizations can provide protection for all devices in minutes by pointing Internet traffic to Umbrella whether on or off the corporate network. Anycast routing provides fast connectivity for a great user experience, with automated failover for 100 percent uptime.

Umbrella also leverages powerful tools from across Cisco Security to identify and stop threats earlier. It can also be integrated with existing systems, including security appliances, intelligence platforms or feeds, and custom, in-house tools, enabling users to extend protection for devices and locations beyond the perimeter.

The cloud and mobile have proven to be a boon to business, providing unprecedented agility and simplicity. Cisco Umbrella uses the power of the cloud to easily extend Internet security to any user anywhere — even outside the castle walls.

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