Identity security took center stage at the Cisco Live! conference in Amsterdam this week with the unveiling of Cisco Identity Intelligence.
Networking giant Cisco bills its new identity capability as an “industry-first” advancement toward a unified, AI-driven, cross-domain security platform.
Cisco Identity Intelligence brings together identity, networking and security to better protect organizations' complex identity stack against increasingly sophisticated cyberattack techniques, the company said.
Cisco Identity Intelligence runs on top of organizations' existing identity stores and provides unified visibility, the company said. The capability allows organizations to clean up vulnerable accounts, eliminate unused and risky privileges, detect behavior anomalies and block high-risk access attempts — "without ripping and replacing their current solutions.”
The Chasm Between Authentication and Access
Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco, describes identity as the “fabric that connects humans, devices and applications in the workplace.” As a result, identity has become an easy target for cyberattacks.
“Organizations need to adopt an identity-first approach to security, which among other things allows them to evolve from just asking 'can' a user access a system to continuously assessing whether a user 'should' be able to do what they are doing once they are authenticated," he said. "By analyzing the entire attack surface of an organization's users, machines, services, apps, data and their behaviors, Cisco Identity Intelligence bridges the chasm between authentication and access.”
Cisco notes that multifactor authentication (MFA) remains a critical first line of defense against identity-based attacks. However, malicious actors are using new and creative ways to steal credentials. Citing its 2024 Duo Trusted Access Report, Cisco processed 16 billion authentications in 2023, up 41% annually. Cisco also found weaker forms of MFA, such as SMS and phone calls, dip to an all-time low of 5%. Yet, the volume of identity attacks is higher than ever.
Bridging Identity and Security
Cisco Identity Intelligence, which will be commercially available in July 2024, is built on an identity graph that pulls data from the many existing third-party sources that manage identity and data within an end customer organization. Cisco said that organizations can now take a “graduated response” toward identity and access issues, including:
- Quarantining an identity
- Killing active sessions
- Isolating the network
Additionally, the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) gives organizations more visibility with these critical insights through their existing solutions, including:
- Smart Authentication with Cisco Duo detects unusual patterns based on behavior and third-party signals.
- Smart Access with Cisco Secure Access verifies the authentication decision and blocks unusual or high-risk behaviors.
- Smart Threat Detection with Cisco XDR correlate identity signals to provide missing information that traditional endpoint and network security solutions miss.
More Cisco Live! Announcements
In addition to the news about Cisco Identity Intelligence, Cisco:
- Announced a partnership with NVIDIA. Together, the companies will deliver AI infrastructure solutions for data centers that are easy to deploy and manage, enabling the massive computing power that enterprises need to succeed in the AI era.
- Introduced new capabilities and technologies across its networking portfolio that are designed to drive a more unified and integrated approach to managing and securing customer networks.
- Unveiled Motific, its first SaaS product that allows for trustworthy generative AI deployments in organizations.