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Cisco puts more security in the cloud

Company rounds out hosted security offerings with Security Cloud Services, updated intrusion prevention and botnet filtering software, and WebEx services for secure online meetings.

SAN FRANCISCO--Cisco is set to make several cloud-related security announcements at the RSA conference on Tuesday, including the expansion of its hosted security services and the integration of security-as-a-service applications with corporate network infrastructures.

The new products include Cisco Security Cloud Services, Cisco IPS Sensor Software 7.0 for intrusion prevention, and Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance 5500 Series 8.2 software with a botnet traffic filter for identifying infected clients and remote access capabilities.

The company uses what it calls "SensorBase," a massive threat-monitoring network overseen by 500 workers in its Cisco Security Intelligence Operations center. The center collects data from 7,000 devices and hundreds of millions of client computers, providing snapshots of activity at different times and locations that can indicate if a large attack is going on, said Ambika Gadre, director of product marketing in the security technology business unit at Cisco, during a briefing on Monday.

The company also is announcing Cisco SAFE, a security reference architecture organizations can use as a guideline for deploying security solutions, and Cisco Information Technology Governance, Risk Management and Compliance consulting services.

In addition, Cisco is introducing the Cisco WebEx Collaboration Cloud for software-as-a-service, a network to provide high performance and security for conferencing, instant messaging and other enterprise work group activities. Also new is the Cisco WebEx Node for ASR 1000 Series, which allows the edge router to act as a point of presence in a corporate network for online meetings.

As confusing as it may be to keep the separate announcements straight, one analyst said Cisco's overall security strategy is a good one.

"There's been a rejuvenation of security at Cisco. They've had a hard time dealing with big picture things," said Peter Christy, principal of the Internet Research Group. "Their long-term vision is that security migrates with you" through the cloud.

Patrick Peterson, a security researcher at Cisco, described some of the threats facing corporations, including cybercriminals based in Russia and the Ukraine.

"They are the Bill Gates of cybercrime," because they are tech savvy and have an innovative entrepreneurial sense, he said.