Preparation for the future

Preparation for the future

Preparation for the future

If you need network connectivity, you need wireless access points. Cisco offers simple-to-deploy, flexible, and secure wireless solutions designed to enable your employees and customers to communicate and collaborate like never before.

What is a Wireless Access Point (WAP)?

wireless access point (WAP) is a networking device that allows wireless-capable devices to connect to a wired network. It is simpler and easier to install WAPs to connect all the computers or devices in your network than to use wires and cables. Using a WAP lets you create a wireless network within your existing wired network, so you can accommodate wireless devices.

Simple

An intuitive mobile app simplifies network set-up and management. Add wireless coverage with a simple mesh extender plug-in.

Flexible

Predictable performance in a compact form factor ideal for small to mid-size enterprise deployments.

Secure

The Integrated Cisco Umbrella end-to-end security prevents malware, phishing, and other threats from reaching your network.

Preparation for the future

When you invest in WAPs that feature future-ready modularity, you are helping to ready your IT infrastructure to support next-generation technologies. Learn more about the different types of access point configurations.

The next evolution in cloud convergence

The next evolution in cloud convergence

The next evolution in cloud convergence

Network security is no longer confined to the data centre. As security shifts to the cloud, the tried-and-true perimeter-based model just can’t keep up. Today’s cybersecurity professionals are contending with an entirely new type of network and an entirely new set of security needs — now more than ever, they need a new way to keep users, data, and devices safe from threats.

The future: connect, control, converge

In this new paradigm, IT requires a simple and reliable approach to protect and connect with agility. This is forcing a convergence of network and security functions closer to users and devices, at the edge — and is best delivered as a cloud-based, as-a-service model called secure access service edge (SASE).

Features and benefits

Connect your workforce to applications seamlessly

Control access through simplified security and policy enforcement

Converge networking and security functions to meet multi-cloud demands at scale

New network, new security challenges

SASE (pronounced “sassy”) offers an alternative to traditional data centre–oriented security, with a new type of cloud-based architecture that brings together networking and security services in one unified solution. This converged network and security solution is designed to deliver strong secure access from edge to edge — including the data centre, remote offices, roaming users, and beyond. By consolidating a variety of network and security functions in one service that can be deployed anywhere from the cloud, SASE can provide better protection and faster performance, while reducing the cost and work it takes to secure the network.

SASE your way with Cisco Umbrella

Cisco continues to invest in Cisco Umbrella, the heart of their SASE architecture. It already combines multiple security functions in a unified cloud-native service — delivering the protection you need, anywhere users work, supported by an industry-leading global cloud architecture.

Start your SASE journey

Whether you’re looking to onramp to a cloud architecture, securely connect users who can’t come to the office, or move security from on prem to the cloud, Cisco can help.

IoT Data Tokenisation in Enterprise Blockchains

IoT Data Tokenisation in Enterprise Blockchains

IoT Data Tokenisation in Enterprise Blockchains

Since blockchain emerged alongside Bitcoin over a decade ago, the technology has come a long way and today serves many industries as a decentralised, secure, and efficient medium for exchanging digital assets.

The blockchain market is predicted to grow to nearly 40 billion USD by 2025. Blockchain promises an efficient way to store data, execute transactions, perform business functions and establish trust in open environments. Most of the blockchain strengths reside in intelligent cryptographic algorithms and distributed computing concepts.

Blockchain is becoming the much-needed solution for data and insight sharing in highly regulated environments such as healthcare and financial industries. At the same time, it democratises the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) applications by facilitating the secure and regulated exchange of valuable data and business insights.

Information like any other asset can be tokenised and exchanged on the blockchains. For example, HPE Swarm Learning is a new concept that uses blockchains to exchange valuable insights between intelligent devices at the edge while protecting the underlying data from being exposed. Read on to learn about blockchain capabilities, how enterprise assets can be tokenised, and the details of HPE’s Swarm Learning tool.

Blockchain overview

Blockchain can be seen as a decentralised database that is shared across the nodes of a network. The database stores information about transactions that occur in the network. Every participant in a network holds the latest validated version of a blockchain. New transactions are added to the database only after the predefined consensus is reached.

Consensus mechanisms in the blockchains are backed by advanced cryptographic algorithms that offer inherent advantages. Namely, these algorithms make the blockchains secure and immutable. Once the data is entered into a blockchain, it cannot be removed or tampered with, while any participant in the network can use unique signatures to verify the validity of network transactions.

Blockchains can be classified as public, private, and consortium.

Public blockchains, typically cryptocurrency blockchains, are open for everyone to participate. These blockchains are also termed “permissionless” since they do not need any special permissions for participation.

Private blockchains have restricted access and operate under rules that define how data is accessed and how the consensus is reached. These blockchains are so-called “permissioned” blockchains. Private blockchains have a defined user hierarchy and, while not fully decentralised, still offer the security characteristics of public blockchains. This is when taking into account one attack vector.

Consortium blockchains are semi-private, permissioned environments that are governed by a consortium of enterprises. Consensus is often reached through a group of validators. The access rules are flexible, and the data’s visibility can be granted to only selected members or all participants.

Blockchain capabilities

Both permissionless and permissioned, blockchains offer numerous business advantages.

The first and foremost blockchain capability is facilitating trust in open business environments. Blockchains are often called trustless networks because participants do not have to trust each other to engage in business transactions. The mechanisms that fuel the trust are security, transparency, and traceability.

Blockchains are decentralised and allow peer-to-peer transactions. Business transactions are verified once the predetermined consensus is reached, and there is no need for an intermediary party. When a transaction is initiated, the details are broadcast to the network participants. After successful validation, the transaction is added to the blockchain and cannot be modified afterwards.

The transactions in a blockchain network are fully visible and traceable. Participants of a blockchain can individually verify all transactions historically and view the transaction details. Due to the inherent security advantages of underlying cryptographic algorithms, blockchain transactions are immutable.

The automation in blockchains is mainly achieved through the smart contracts feature. Smart contracts are simply the rules programmed to execute once a predetermined set of conditions are met. Thus, automated contracts eliminate the need for intermediaries and can automate complicated workflows. Their execution triggers new contracts that eventually lead to meeting specific business goals for participating parties.

Tokenisation of enterprise assets

Blockchain tokens are digital representations of assets with value. Participants of the blockchain can buy, sell and exchange these tokens via blockchain transactions. One of the main advantages of the tokens is that they enable trading of a normally indivisible asset (art painting, real estate, etc.).

Tokens in the enterprise blockchains can increase operational efficiency. In enterprise blockchains, tokens are issued (minted) based on the proof of possession of an asset. In other words, tokens are pegged to an enterprise asset. Once issued, these tokens can be transferred, traded, or redeemed depending on the use case.

Tokens enable the trading of intangible assets such as data or information as well. Similar to other enterprise assets, fiat currency or gold can also be tokenised. So-called stable coins are pegged to real-world commodities and can speed up transactions and eliminate the need for intermediaries.

Blockchain in practice

Tokenisation is an area of massive growth in blockchain, with many industries starting to embrace its potential. The partnership between Blockhead Technologies and ABC Refinery is one home-grown example.

ABC Refinery, Australia’s largest independent precious metals service group, last year partnered with Blockhead Technologies to create a technology platform that enables precious metal traceability and tampering detection. Fraudulent gold bullion is an increasingly costly issue as the price of gold climbs. Blockhead’s blockchain-enabled ‘STAMP Vision’ platform uses advanced image processing of gold bullion and, by leveraging the security of the blockchain, can track gold throughout the entire supply chain.

The advanced image processing creates a ‘digital fingerprint’ for each gold and silver bullion bar and stores it in a cryptographically secure manner. This information is quickly accessible via a mobile app, enabling ABC Refinery to see that the bullion is authentic and has not been tampered with.

Swarm learning

In the current IoT (Internet of Things) use cases, the data is shuttled back and forth from the edge to a central data centre for analysis, and results are delivered back to the edge. This back-and-forth method is slow, expensive, and not secure. It simply cannot support the needs of intelligent devices. With Swarm Learning, insights gathered by smart devices at the edge can be shared globally, without needing to shuttle private data to a centralised hub or cloud. Not only does this create a less expensive and more elegant system, but data sovereignty is protected.

In the Swarm Learning scenario, the intelligent devices process data right at the source. The processing takes place within edge devices such as semi-autonomous vehicles that gather petabytes of driving data each day or in a fraud detection system that tracks credit card purchases as they happen. In both of these scenarios, the observations gathered at many locations are only truly valuable when shared and turned into a collective understanding by the entire group. This way, when one vehicle encounters a problem, an entire fleet can be trained to avoid it.

With the help of blockchains, the insights can be sharable and secure. By tokenising intelligent insights, enterprises can trade them in a global, blockchain-backed marketplace. The process allows blockchain participants to sell or exchange information without giving away the underlying data. Thus, Swarm Learning enables the monetisation of information processed at the edge.

Final thoughts

Huge amounts of data are collected daily from edge devices, whether they be sensors, IoT, or endpoint computing. These vast amounts of, often sensitive, data require a solution that protects the data from its collection point at the edge to the subsequent movements and actions applied to it.

Blockchains enable secure and transparent peer-to-peer transactions in business environments. The businesses that use blockchains are capable of cutting costs due to the improved efficiency of transactions. For example, automated transaction handling eliminates the tasks of data handling, reporting, and auditing. At the same time, automatic settlement of transactions saves cost by eliminating the need for intermediary vendors.

Blockchains are a necessary element of Swarm Learning. They enable edge locations to share insights in a trusted manner. As a result, systems become more intelligent, faster, less biased, and more accurate, and AI algorithms can be trained on a greater volume of data while following relevant privacy laws. Swarm Learning is also reducing IT costs by eliminating unnecessary data movement and duplication.

The world is shifting from data centres to millions of centres of data. It is only a matter of time when tools such as Swarm Learning will become mainstream. For modern IT organisations it is essential to start implementing IoT, edge, AI, and blockchain solutions into their workflows to maintain their competitive advantage.

Consider the types and volume of data your business is collecting at the edge and how you want to automate and secure that data and its movement. By keeping the data as close to the source as possible, your organisation will see greater efficiencies. As your IT partner, we’re interested in hearing more about your edge requirements and helping you fully leverage the available solutions.

Turn your entire network into an extension of your security architecture

Turn your entire network into an extension of your security architecture

Turn your entire network into an extension of your security architecture

As your business-critical applications are a blend of cloud and on-premise based and users need secure access to resources from everywhere, the traditional firewall approach no longer works. Your single network perimeter has evolved to multiple micro-perimeters. For many organisations the application is the new perimeter, and traditional firewall deployments have evolved to a mixture of physical, virtual, and cloud-native appliances. As a result, organisations are struggling to operationalise support for modern application environments. The challenges of how to maintain consistent visibility, policy enforcement, and uniform threat visibility without opening vulnerabilities that expose the organisation to risk.

The Cisco Secure Firewall portfolio delivers greater protections for your network against an increasingly evolving and complex set of threats. With Cisco, you’re investing in a foundation for security that is both agile and integrated- leading to the strongest security posture available today and tomorrow. From your data centre, branch offices, cloud environments, and everywhere in between, you can leverage the power of Cisco to turn your existing network infrastructure into an extension of your firewall solution, resulting in world-class security controls everywhere you need them.

The firewall at your security platform’s core

World-class security controls

Defending networks against increasingly sophisticated threats requires industry-leading intelligence and consistent protections everywhere. Improve your security posture today with Cisco Secure Firewall.

Consistent policy and visibility

As networks become more interconnected, achieving comprehensive threat visibility and consistent policy management is difficult. Simplify security management and gain visibility across distributed and hybrid networks.

Integrate network and security

Cisco Secure Firewall sets the foundation for integrating powerful threat prevention capabilities into your existing network infrastructure, making the network a logical extension of your firewall solution.

Reduce complexity with Cisco Secure Firewall

Real-time, unified, workload and network security for integrated control across dynamic application environments

Platform approach to network security, leveraging and sharing intelligence from key sources for faster detection, response, and remediation

Safeguard remote workers with highly secure enterprise access anytime, anywhere, from any device, with powerful threat prevention capabilities that protect the organisation, users and critical applications

SecureX entitlement included with every Cisco Secure Firewall, for a tightly integrated approach to security that enables threat correlation across the Cisco Secure portfolio and accelerates incident response

Simplify your security

Investing in a Secure Firewall appliance today gives you robust protections against even the most sophisticated threats without compromising performance when inspecting encrypted traffic.

A stress-free login experience

A stress-free login experience

A stress-free login experience

Today’s workforce relies on an incredible variety of programs and platforms for productivity, and it can be difficult to provide on-demand access to these tools without compromising on security. Luckily, Duo safely puts essential applications at your users’ fingertips. Whether you’re looking for a new SSO solution or want to protect an existing one, Duo enables a streamlined login experience that’s backed by airtight information security

Organisations are often asked to make a terrible trade-off between increasing user productivity or providing better security. Duo challenges the idea that a user’s productivity must be hindered in order to have strong security. SSO and MFA should be easily configured for each application while allowing a seamless authentication flow for the user. This pairing of SSO and MFA is at the heart of Duo’s new cloud-based SSO.

Single sign-on (SSO) from Duo provides users with an easy and consistent login experience for any and every application, whether it’s on-premises or cloud-based. Cloud-based and hosted by Duo, it’s easy to set up and manage.

Log in once, work everywhere

With Duo’s SSO, users can log in to a single, MFA-protected dashboard to gain access to all of their applications, both cloud-based and native.

User-friendly, single dashboard access to applications.

Customise access policies per-application.

Support existing SSO, federation and identity providers.

Easy access to applications

Provide access to all SSO applications from a single, user-friendly interface with Duo Central. Cloud-based and hosted by Duo, Duo Central is a great way to direct users straight to the frictionless login workflows you’ve set up. Duo Central can be configured to provide each employee with the exact applications they need, allowing you to control security at the application level and ensure that only employees with the proper permissions can access sensitive information.

Compatible with any security architecture

Duo’s cloud-based SSO is designed to complement Duo’s multi-factor authentication solution – but Duo’s zero-trust platform integrates with dozens of other SSO and identity provider tools, allowing you to secure application access in the way that works best for your business.

SSO for remote access

Duo’s SSO can be used in conjunction with VPNs and other remote access technologies to provide a streamlined work-from-anywhere experience. Because Duo’s Multi-factor Authentication protects every authentication, employees can use their SSO credentials to remotely access applications without introducing additional security risks.

I highly recommend Duo’s new SSO. It’s simple to set up and anyone should be able to breeze through it. The straightforward design makes it easy to use and it is great to have applications in one place with Duo Central.

Carlos Mosley

Senior Security Systems & Network Engineer, Beacon

Securing the workforce with Duo

Cloud-based single sign-on (SSO) from Duo provides users with an easy and consistent login experience for any and every application, whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud. Be on the lookout as Duo continue to add valuable features and updates to its SSO.

Could shadow IT be a secret bright spot in your business?

Could shadow IT be a secret bright spot in your business?

Could shadow IT be a secret bright spot in your business?

Every business has an unseen dimension: shadow IT. Fortunately it only sounds menacing. In reality, it’s borne from the best of intentions – innovation among them.

Most IT professionals understand why shadow IT exists, but many have varying levels of tolerance for it. Some embrace it fully and bring it to light every chance they get, while others would rather see it cast into darkness for good.

To make peace with their shadow IT, organisations must understand its nuances, embracing its positives and converting its challenges into opportunities to innovate.

What is shadow IT, and why do employees use it?

Shadow IT is a catch-all term that includes any IT solution (think: applications, software, devices, etc.) that’s not expressly approved by or known to your IT team. They include personal computers, smartphones and a growing field of new cloud services.

With the switch to remote work, it’s easy to see why BYOD programmes have grown in popularity. Not only can they save companies some serious money (to the tune of $1.5 million a year), they also make it easier for employees to transition between personal and professional to-dos. All the more important when those two pieces are simultaneously playing out at home.

There are roughly 730 cloud services that usually underpin a company’s operations.

Software as a service (SaaS) applications accomplish a similar goal. From email and video conferencing to marketing and sales tasks, most teams use a variety of popular SaaS solutions every single day. What often goes undetected are the roughly 730 other cloud services that usually underpin a company’s operations.

So why keep IT in the dark? In reality, the motivation is far from malicious. On the whole, employees merely want to do the best job possible. If they feel their progress is being slowed, they’re likely to find an alternative channel. In fact, “97% said employees using their preferred technologies are more productive,” according to one survey of IT professionals.

How can shadow IT work for you?

For starters, Shadow IT can – and probably already does – uncork any productivity bottlenecks your team is experiencing. When employees don’t have to wait for IT approval, they’re more empowered to find a solution and implement it in real-time.

There is, however, such a thing as “good” and “bad” Shadow IT. Learning to distinguish between the two and take a balanced approach can give employees the innovation leeway they need to source their own solutions without putting the company at risk.

Creating a policy of transparency is a good start. The better your employees communicate with your IT department, the better that team can do their job keeping the network secure, protecting sensitive data and controlling permissions.

Kintone also reminds employers that, “When employees engage outside technologies, they’re telling company leaders that opportunities exist for greater efficiency. They also reveal that they are engaged. After all, they wouldn’t search out ways to be more productive if they didn’t want to be effective.”

Before you get spooked by your own inevitable IT shadow, remember that on the whole: the intent is good, and there are simple solutions you can employ to keep your company safe. It’s just a matter of bringing it all to light.