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My Impressions from the Cisco Partner Summit 2015: Security, IoE, and Cloud

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According to the 2015 Accenture Technology Vision Report, Digital Business Era:  Stretch Your Boundaries, 81% of executives believe that “industry boundaries will dramatically blur as platforms reshape industries into interconnected ecosystems”. Furthermore – according to the report – 60% of organizations are now planning to engage new digital partners within their respective industries. This means that partners, service providers, integrators, and the organization itself must become ready for a truly digital age, which, in turn means aligning with security with its demands.

I just returned from the 2015 Cisco Partner Summit which was held in Montreal last week. The presentations and conversations at the Summit focused on these themes.

The value of our data is creating new targets and more opportunities for cybercriminals

During some truly insightful sessions on security we heard about the global cybercrime market and how it impacts the modern organization. The current ‘market’ for the proceeds of cybercrime now ranges between $450B and $1T per year and Cisco expects this number to only rise. So how much is your data actually worth? How do the bad guys keep making this kind of money off of us?

  • Social Security Number: $1 a record
  • DDoS as a Service: About $7/hour
  • Medical Records: >$50
  • Credit Card Data: $0.25 – $60 a record
  • Bank Account Info: >$1,000 (Depending on the type of account and balance)
  • Mobile Malware: $150
  • Malware Development: $2500 (commercial malware)
  • Spam: about $50 for 500k emails (also depends on the destination)
  • Exploits: $100k – $300k
  • Facebook Account: $1 for an account with at least 15 friends

This new digital age is creating new targets and more opportunities for the bad guys every single day. And as the digital age progresses, we’ll see more and more attacks- from hackers, hacktivists, nation states, and other malicious sources. Cisco believes you must integrate network security, advanced threat detection, web and email security, policy and access controls, directly into your ecosystem. Most importantly your network should now act as the sensor and the enforcer around all traffic that passes through your data center. Ultimately, creating an unparalleled, end-to-end embedded, dedicated security architecture  built around intelligence, direct visibility into data, and proactive alerting will be the only way to isolate and address the evolving threat matrix.

Internet of Everything (IoE) is the digital disruptor

Cisco estimates that IoE is already a $19T market and it’s poised to take on even more of today’s business challenges. Cisco also estimates that there will be more than 21 billion devices connected by 2018 and more than 50 billion by 2020. This year alone there will be more than 180 billion applications downloaded. You’re reading this – are you wearing some kind of a smart device? Do you have a ‘nest’ thermostat or some other gadget that automates a function in your home? Just a couple of years ago these kinds of systems were only just being adopted. Now, they’re a holiday wish list staple. IoE is also spreading across your organization, a big takeaway from the conference revolved around the need for organizations to support new devices and build intelligent security policies for them. To prove the point, Cisco showed the audience a video of massive container cranes which were controlled through intelligent, IP-based, policies. Think of the possibilities – and the damage – these cranes could do if the security policies were compromised in any way!

Enable the digital business through the cloud

More and more organizations will directly rely on their technological capabilities to out-compute and out-compete in the market. The modern language of technology and the digital world must therefore focus on real solutions to business problems. In fact, Cisco mentioned that 65% of enterprise organizations don’t want their partners to “sell” them technology, they’re specifically looking for end-to-end solutions that can drive ROI and deliver measurable business outcomes. Additionally 70% of organizations are now looking at easier and more flexible productivity models. This brings us to cloud computing. One the most dominant models of cloud computing moving forward will be hybrid cloud technology. A big takeaway from the conference revolved around creating powerful platforms which can scale both your traditional data center and the cloud environment to enable your business.

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