Why stronger security starts with better network visibility
by Gary Lear, Practice Lead – Cyber Security, Comms-care

For organisations across the globe remote working has become common practice as part of their rapid response to the pandemic. As a result, many have realised the value from technology solutions which facilitate productivity for their employees but, have met challenges addressing the crucial balance of security.

The uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic resulted in laptops being bought in bulk and shipped at short notice so that employees could work from their homes. But with such a short timeframe in place, were corporate security conditions that would normally be in place, properly met?

Any device that falls outside of corporate IT control provides organisations with two major challenges:

  • They lack visibility and context of who and what is accessing the corporate network.
  • They’ve lost the stringent control they used to have over what is accessing corporate resources.

Without visibility and control, the organisation can be exposed to data loss, security breaches and compliance issues. So, what’s the solution?

The Cisco Identity Services Engine (or ISE) overcomes this challenge by providing visibility into the state of the network across wired, wireless and VPN access. It grants or denies access to the network and if granted, granular policies ensuring tight control can be enforced based on how the endpoint is connecting, who is using the endpoint, what the endpoint is, when the endpoint is connecting, where they are connecting to and the posture of the device, meaning that “access” is no longer a yes or no answer.

How exactly does it work? It gathers data using an array of mechanisms and contextualises this information to provide clear visibility into every connected device across the network. Once the full context is known, policy enforcement essentially turns ISE into the first line of defence for access to the corporate network.

If there’s one lesson to take away from this pandemic, it’s that change is constantly redefining our landscape. We must look beyond ‘normal’ and the ‘new normal’ to the ‘next normal’ and be prepared for anything. Organisations must be able to respond quickly to any event and employees must be able to stay connected in the most secure and productive ways possible, no matter where they are.

To learn more about how we can support you to deliver Cisco ISE solutions for your customers, get in touch here. Comms-care can support you at any point of the journey with your customer from design through to deployment and a fully managed service delivering ongoing 24/7/365 support.