network challenges

(Source – Shutterstock)

Cisco addresses network security challenges for both enterprises and SMBs

  • Cisco reveals how it is helping networks evolve by predicting application issues before they happen, enabling a new level of reliability and performance.
  • Early customer trials show Cisco’s technology can predict issues with high accuracy, helping IT teams to drastically improve connected experiences.
  • Cisco plans to deliver predictive technologies across its portfolio in integrated, easy-to-use SaaS offers.

One of the biggest network challenges in modern times is no longer connectivity but security. In the past, most organizations and remote workers were concerned with network abilities in their place of work. Over time, connectivity issues were solved and today, employees can access the network from almost anywhere they want to.

However, while businesses were able to solve one part of their network challenges, there was still a big security concern. Today, businesses invest heavily in securing their network as it is the most important access point not only for their employees but their workloads and data as well.

With businesses moving more workloads to the cloud, network challenges need to be overcome quickly and efficiently. There is now a myriad of network security solutions in the market available for businesses. This includes endpoint security as well as zero-trust security features whereby an organization has full visibility on who is accessing the network.

Despite this, most of these solutions are only able to react when a threat is detected in their system. For example, endpoint security protection only protects devices when a threat is detected. In most cases, the threat would have already infiltrated the system and caused some damage to the organization.

According to Cisco’s 2022 Global Networking Trends Report, responding to disruptions and accommodating new business needs were cited as the top network challenges in 2021. To address these challenges, new predictive technologies are needed, many of which are emphasized in the era of hybrid work. By using enormous amounts of historical data, predictive networks can predict events based on past history.

Predicting secure incidents is ideally what organizations want when it comes to securing their networks. Unlike a zero-trust framework that provides visibility, predicting a problem before it can happen would not only avoid costly disruptions but bring a whole new evolution to network security itself.

Cisco has been powering the internet, keeping the world connected to what matters most for nearly three decades. In that time, networks have evolved to detect and react to issues to maintain performance and reliability. Logically, the next big step is for networks to predict problems before they happen, something that has been difficult until now.

Solving network challenges

Cisco is bringing together new predictive technologies with its broad portfolio of observability, visibility, and intelligence technologies to improve reliability and performance across all operational scenarios.

For the past two years, Cisco has been working on a first-of-its-kind predictive analytics engine that will help IT teams prevent issues and elevate the user experience. Cisco has turned and tested predictive models with customers across a variety of industry segments, incorporating advanced analytics and machine learning techniques to enable greater precision and ease of use.

Cisco Predictive Networks work by gathering data from a myriad of telemetry sources. Once integrated, it learns the patterns using a variety of models and begins to predict user experience issues, providing problem-solving options. Customers can decide how far and wide they want to connect the engine throughout the network, giving them flexible options to expand as they need.

“The future of connectivity will rely on self-healing networks that can learn, predict and plan. Our research for predictive networks has been tested and developed with customers, and early adopters are seeing major benefits saving them time and money. The industry has been waiting for secure, proactive networking and only Cisco can do it right,” commented Chuck Robbins, Chair and CEO of Cisco.

A proactive approach is always the better option compared to a reactive approach when it comes to cybersecurity. The last two years have proven to be some of the most challenging times for IT teams as they not only have to manage cybersecurity threats on-premises but also ensure hybrid and remote working employees are secured.

At the same time, with cloud adoption increasing, securing data on the cloud is also a prerogative. Unplanned downtime and outages can interrupt employee productivity, customer service, and revenue.

Beyond outages, the experience people get from their network connections has become business-critical. People and businesses use and rely on applications for just about everything, and often an app is the critical first impression for customers.

In fact, 57% of people say brands have one shot to impress them and that if their digital service does not perform, they won’t use them again. To deliver on the full promise of digital business, the industry needs a way to better predict network issues, proactively avoid issues, and ensure the best possible experience.

From network to SMBs

Over in Asia Pacific, Cisco also launched a new cybersecurity assessment tool to enable small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to better understand their overall security posture. The new online assessment tool assesses the “cybersecurity readiness” of each organization through the lens of zero trust.

The tool assesses the organization’s level of maturity in six areas of zero trust that include user and identity, device, networks, workload (applications), data and, security operations. Once the organization enters details of its security capabilities and policies, the tool assesses the overall security posture of the organization based on industry and sector benchmarks. It generates a bespoke report for each organization which indicates their level of maturity, challenges, and opportunities in each of the six areas of zero trust.

The mass shift to hybrid working, triggered by the pandemic, has led to a sizable proportion of employees connecting to organizations’ networks and accessing information from outside the office, with many using personal devices to do so. According to SMBs surveyed Cisco’s Cybersecurity for SMBs: Asia Pacific Businesses Prepare for Digital Defense study, phishing, unsecured laptops, targeted attacks by malicious actors, and use of personal devices are among the top threats to their overall security. A well-executed zero trust strategy can help mitigate these threats and safeguard businesses and customers.

“The state of cybersecurity in the Asia Pacific region is becoming increasingly complex in a hyper-connected, digital-first world. As SMBs pick up the pace on their digitalization journeys and gear up for a cloud and application-first hybrid work environment, cybersecurity must be foundational to any digitalization efforts to ensure end-to-end protection across their workforce, workloads, and the workplace. One critical way to do this is to adopt a zero-trust strategy,” explained Juan Huat Koo, Director, Cybersecurity, ASEAN at Cisco.