Cisco boosts multi-cloud security with new Zero Trust, SASE features, and more

Cisco Systems at the RSA Conference in San Francisco announced Cisco Security Cloud, a unified, end-to-end security platform designed to stretch across hybrid multi-cloud environments. The platform also offers new Zero Trust and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) features as these models are moving to center stage in enterprise security strategies.

Touting Cisco Security Cloud as “the most open security platform with no public cloud lock-in,” the company added that it will have open APIs to enable third party solutions and enable a security marketplace.

Regarding the Zero Trust features, Cisco said it is introducing new Secure Access methods for risk-based authentication that are less visible and less intrusive to users who do not want to be slowed  in their work by having to submit to different authentication steps. These methods include the patent-pending Wi-Fi Fingerprint feature as an effective location proxy without compromising user privacy.

But risk evaluation needs to be ongoing for the duration of a user session after the user logs in, so Cisco said it also is building session trust analysis using the open Shared Signals and Events standards to share information between vendors in the multi-cloud environment. At RSA, the company unveiled the first integration of this technology with a demonstration of Cisco Secure Access by Duo and Box.

As SASE is becoming more of a guiding influence in enterprise security strategies, Cisco also is looking for ways to make SASE capabilities easier to consume and manage. At RSA, the company unveiled Cisco+ Secure Connect Now, which it described as a unified SASE solution available through an as-a-service subscription. The new offering enables customers to quickly deploy SASE and ease day-to-day operations through a cloud-managed platform with a unified dashboard.

“If your organization has employees who work from home, the road, and the office, then you understand the underlying costs and complexities of securely connecting a hybrid workforce,” said Omri Guelfand, Vice President of Product Management, Network as a Service, in a blog post. “With Cisco+ Secure Connect Now, your ongoing operations management is done on a cloud network platform powered by Cisco Meraki and the Cisco Security Cloud, allowing you to configure the service within minutes and monitor networking and security traffic in one place. No upfront investment or set-up is required – you get everything you need to get started immediately.”

Cisco also said Telefonica Tech will add Cisco’s SASE suite to its service portfolio, which a Telefonica executive said will help the company to better support hybrid worker evironments.

“As businesses shift to support hybrid work and work from anywhere models, we are committed to helping them adapt to the increased demand for high performing and secure connectivity,” said Rames Sarwat, Director of Cyber Security & Cloud Products and Services at Telefonica Tech, in a statement. “Together with Cisco, we will offer customers an innovative, managed service that will combine SD-Branch with CiscoSASE to address a complete set of next generation connectivity and security use cases for the branch and the hybrid worker.”

Among other RSA unveilings, Cisco added a new Talos Intelligence On-Demand service offering custom research on threat landscape unique to individual enterprise organizations. The company also announced enhancements to Cisco Secure Cloud Analytics to accelerate incident detection and response through automatic alerts into SecureX and the ability to map those alerts to MITRE ATT&CK. 

Cisco also introduced the Secure Firewall 3100 Series, designed for hybrid work with a new encrypted visibility engine that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect hidden threats. Finally, Cisco announced a new, unified Secure Client, which simplifies and streamlines how administrators and users manage endpoints. Half of Cisco Secure agents, including AnyConnect, Secure Endpoint, and Umbrella, will be unified by mid-year with additional elements to be added, the company said.