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A Cisco SAFE approach to defending the top attack surfaces on college campuses

September 04, 2018

Higher learning institutions report that Internet of Things (IoT) and personal devices in the workplace (i.e., BYOD) are the most challenging areas to defend, with 71% admitting these two areas pose a moderate-to-high risk to their networks.

Data security breaches occur in a variety of forms, but they typically come in through one or more of the following attack surfaces:

Humans—Phishing emails trick 23% of recipients to open them and 11% of recipients to open attachments.

Devices—In addition to the explosion in personal smartphone usage, this category includes billions of internet-enabled “things.”

Networks—Whether it’s a local area network (LAN) or wireless LAN, the network is where intellectual property and other sensitive data resides making it a prime target.

Applications—When applications move to the cloud, companies still have the burden to protect those apps, according to cloud providers’ “shared responsibility” model.

Campuses contain large user populations with a variety of device types and traditionally few internal security controls. Due to the large number of security zones (subnets and virtual LANs), secure segmentation is difficult. Because of the lack of security control, visibility and guest/partner access, campuses are prime targets for attack.

How Cisco’s Secure Campus architecture keeps campus customers SAFE

SAFE (secure architectural framework example) is Cisco’s physical and cybersecurity reference architecture that’s designed to help keep students, staff and data safe and secure whether on campus, off campus, or en route to or from school. The SAFE method focuses on threats and best practices for defending against them.

The SAFE method also ensures that business goals are measurably secured according to each customer’s security policy and risk appetite, using the following steps:

  • Identify business goals
  • Break down the network into manageable pieces
  • Establish a criteria for the success of the business
  • Categorize risks, threats and policies
  • Build the security solution

Applying the SAFE principles, Cisco offers comprehensive tools and solutions to enable partners to create safe and secure learning environments, including:

  1. Closely monitor campus activity. Using Meraki IP video surveillance security cameras, campus activity can be monitored more easily and threats detected more quickly.
  2. Keep the lines of communication open. For emergency situations, Cisco Instant Connect enables higher learning admins to communicate securely with staff, students and parents through notifications and unified communications.
  3. Reduce cyber risks with security everywhere. Solutions such as Cisco Umbrella, Cisco Stealthwatch and Cisco AMP (Advanced Malware Protection) protect college and university networks with real-time threat intelligence and policy enforcement.
  4. Network security. Cisco Identity Services Engine and DNA for Education help partners set next-generation identity and access control policies to enforce compliance and enhance network security.
  5. Additional threat protection resources. Cisco Talos adds expert researchers, analysts and engineering support to Cisco security solutions, expanding partners’ security resources and simplifying campus security implementations.

Join Ingram Micro’s Cisco subject matter experts on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 1 p.m. ET for a four-hour technical training WebEx conference titled, “Meraki 360.” Attendees will learn how to configure a complete solution of switching, wireless, security and device management via cloud-managed services. Participants will also receive a basic overview of each technology and the competitive advantage of the Meraki solution with the ultimate goal of being equipped with the knowledge and resources to conduct pre-sales demonstrations. This webinar includes hands-on experience using live lab gear, as well as configuration, troubleshooting and reporting via the Meraki dashboard.

Note: If you’re reading this blog after Sept. 11, you can access upcoming Ingram Micro and Cisco WebEx events and recorded events here