Meraki: SECURITY STARTS WITH SIMPLICITY
How simplification lowers the bar for good security hygiene
Wherever we look for evidence, it’s clear that the topic of security is consistently top-of-mind for IT organizations around the world. The media uncovers a security story with predictable regularity, so that even as consumers we’re all well aware of the ongoing tussle between those of us trying to secure infrastructure and applications, and those who seek to expose weaknesses. Looking at this positively, this ever-present reality helps minimize complacency and ensure products and apps are constantly improving.
The word ‘security’ conjures up different images to different people. For some it will be the protection of their web account credentials while connected to a cafe Wi-Fi hotspot. For others it will be ensuring physical safety for their employees or those in their care. Security is a broad topic, and it’s no surprise that it’s the first consideration when implementing technology of any kind.
At Cisco Meraki we firmly believe that our core value of simplicity is the best approach to help ensure a broader adoption of good practices. Anything we can do to simplify good security hygiene will help to level-up its implementation by our customers. Let’s take a look at three areas where thoughtfully designed infrastructure can truly make a difference.
Let’s face it, we’re a fallible species. There’s a mountain of evidence to support this, with estimates anywhere between 60 and 95% of network security issues being due to something we humans got wrong. We may not like to admit it, but the data proves we’re the weakest link when it comes to security.
The more complex an IT solution is, the more likely that humans will make mistakes. Complexity can develop in many ways: it may be because an organization’s security infrastructure has developed from an assortment of ‘point solutions’ from different vendors. It may be because the technology is too difficult to keep reconfiguring as needs change. Complexity can lead to shortcuts, and in the world of security, shortcuts are bad. The image of a password on a sticky note comes to mind.
With Meraki, from user and device policies to firewalls to malware detection, we work tirelessly to not only provide a robust set of security features, but also pay particular attention to the implementation of these tools through a simple, unified, intuitive user interface (the Meraki dashboard). The easier it is to implement good security, the more likely that is to be the result.
Automated firmware and patch updates
Any tenured network administrator will be familiar with the reality of maintaining current, secure firmware on the equipment they maintain. Even in 2019, it is still common practice to find engineers visiting vendor websites to download firmware that must then be distributed manually to each individual box. Not only can this process be tedious, but it’s also time consuming. Most worryingly of all, network admins frequently exhibit inertia when it comes to upgrading equipment, preferring to stick with what they know works, rather than ‘risk’ an upgrade. Back to the human element again.
At Meraki we consider healthy firmware maintenance vital in protecting our customers and their valuable data, so once again we apply simplicity to the process by defaulting to automated firmware updates. The option remains to schedule updates at a convenient time, and either way, new firmware is downloaded automatically from the cloud. Implementation of the update is as fast as rebooting the equipment, and Meraki customers can have peace of mind knowing the option to be on current firmware, offering the best available protection, is on by default.
It would be easy to assume that a simple user interface has less to offer. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, thanks to a security-first approach in our engineering organization, and crucially, the fact that we’re part of the Cisco family. With a wealth of world-class security offerings under its belt, Cisco is a dominant player with a huge global footprint.
The Meraki portfolio provides seamless integration with a host of Cisco security technologies, including intrusion prevention, malware protection, malicious file sandboxing and DNS-based content filtering. The Cisco Talos group is one of the leading sources for identifying new threats and vulnerabilities on the internet, and Meraki customers have already benefited from same-day protection against several outbreaks, including some that have made the media headlines in recent years.
Security will remain the number one concern for IT organizations around the world. At Cisco Meraki we want to play our part by combining the world’s best security armor with a thoughtfully designed combination of automation and intuitive management. By simplifying at every layer we’re helping to ensure the best possible protection achieves the widest possible adoption. To learn more about network and physical security solutions from Meraki, please come along to one of our live webinars, or check out an on-demand recording covering Meraki security.