Perception versus Reality: Step Up Your Security Protection in 2015

This month, we officially unveiled the Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report, which captures an industry snapshot of our security landscape from an IT network trend perspective. The most glaring point about the report is the seeming “perception versus reality” disconnect among survey respondents: while 60 per cent aren’t patching, 90 per cent of those polled remain “confident” in their cybersecurity capabilities.

Annual Security Report - January 2015 Images

This is interesting, to say the least: implicit in this finding is the notion there is a disconnect between intent and actions. A large chunk of today’s security practitioners aren’t taking advantage of the critical tools available to thwart attacks. It goes without saying that Canadian organizations should be paying attention to the latest threat intelligence and cybersecurity trends. It also feels like a no-brainer to say that organizations should be making security a key priority, but there is a renewed sense of urgency in 2015, largely driven by the fact that attackers have become extremely savvy in taking advantage of gaps in security to evade detection and conceal malicious activity.

The report bears that out: Cisco threat intelligence research revealed that attackers have increasingly shifted their focus from seeking to compromise servers and operating systems, to seeking to exploit users at the browser and email level. Other findings include web exploits hiding in plain sight and spam emerging as a preferred strike method – creating a situation where attackers are sending low volumes of spam from a large set of IP addresses to avoid detection.

Indeed, this past year has seen radical changes to the nature and frequency of attacks, which has required a massive change in thought: it’s no longer a matter of if you’ll be attacked, or even when. You need to assume you already have been compromised. Now, more than ever, organizations need to focus on and invest in post-attack strategies and solutions.

Organizations therefore need to step up their security game; best practices dictate that organizations must be constantly improving their network approach to protect their business. Simply put, an attack occurs in three stages: before, during and after. Historically, the majority of attention has been given to the “before” stage, in order to prevent an attack from happening. Unfortunately, focusing on prevention no longer guarantees security.

One of the Cisco’s key security components is its Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) from Sourcefire. When Cisco acquired Sourcefire , a key objective was to provide one of the industry’s most comprehensive advanced threat protection portfolios. We were well aware that the threat landscape was evolving, especially with the huge spike in trends such as mobility and cloud computing.  We wanted to make sure we had the right products – and the right people – in place to handle all attack vectors.

So take a look at the Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report. Let us know what you think. Is there a security “perception versus reality” disconnect within your business?  The security landscape has changed tremendously in the last five years, and there’s every reason to believe the next five years will see yet another shift in the dynamic. The exact nature of that shift remains to be seen, but as long as we continue to plan accordingly we’ll be prepared to deal with those challenges when they arrive.

About Ahmed Etman

Ahmed Etman is the General Manager of Security and Enterprise Networking for Cisco Canada. In this role, he is responsible for Canadian growth within Cisco’s core technologies including enterprise routing, switching, and wireless networking. He is also responsible for managing Cisco’s cross-portfolio security solutions and leads a team of dedicated sales specialists across the country. Etman has over 12 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. He joined Cisco’s Europe, Middle East and Africa team in 2006 as a security business development manager, based in Dubai. He is a mechanical engineer by training and started his career as a security systems engineer. Before joining Cisco, he held various positions at Internet Security Systems (now part of IBM), including Director of Technical Solutions, and was responsible for opening the ISS operation in the Middle East and Africa region. Etman holds a bachelor of science degree from The American University in Cairo. Ahmed Etman est le directeur général de la sécurité et du réseautage d'entreprise de Cisco Canada. À ce titre, il est responsable de la croissance des affaires canadiennes en lien avec les technologies de base de Cisco, notamment les technologies de routage, de commutation et de réseautage sans fil d'entreprise. Il est aussi responsable de la gestion de l'ensemble de la gamme de solutions de sécurité de Cisco et dirige une équipe de spécialistes des ventes dévoués d'un océan à l'autre. M. Etman possède plus de 12 ans d'expérience dans l'industrie des télécommunications. Il est entré au service de l'équipe Cisco de l'Europe, du Moyen-Orient et de l'Afrique en 2006 en tant que directeur du développement des affaires de sécurité affecté à Dubaï. Il a une formation d'ingénieur mécanique et il a commencé sa carrière à titre d'ingénieur de systèmes de sécurité. Avant de grossir les rangs de Cisco, il a occupé divers postes au sein d'Internet Security Systems (qui fait maintenant partie d'IBM), y compris celui de directeur général des solutions techniques. Il a aussi été responsable de la mise sur pied de l'équipe ISS de la région du Moyen-Orient et de l'Afrique. M. Etman est titulaire d'un baccalauréat ès sciences de la American University du Caire.
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