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Updated:March 12, 2015
The Cisco® Security Management Suite is a framework of next-generation security management tools designed for the operational management and policy administration of the Cisco Self-Defending Network. This suite of integrated applications simplifies the management process by automating tasks associated with the functional areas of security management: configuration, monitoring, analysis, mitigation, identity, and auditing. The result is an increased level of security assurance, better organizational productivity, and lower overall TCO.
The primary components of the Cisco Security Management Suite include the Cisco Security Manager and the Cisco Security Monitoring, Analysis, and Response System (MARS).
The network has become a vital component of the organizational business process, and administrators are faced with the challenge of securing this control plane. As a result, we have seen the convergence and integration of security features, services, and capabilities into the network fabric itself. While this can be an efficient method to secure an enterprise network, it also presents organizations with some unique management challenges:
• Integration of network and security IT operations teams creating uncertainty over ownership of tasks and resources
• Complexity of business-level security policies being translated into actionable rules for the network to follow
• An overwhelming amount of information and security data, making it difficult to identify security threats
• The ability to track users accessing the corporate resource and determining who can do what on the network and when
A complete and integrated management solution is needed, one that can simplify the operational processes associated with these challenges.
The Cisco Security Management Suite is a framework of next-generation tools that addresses the security management challenges of today's converged networks. Functionally, these tools provide a framework for configuration, monitoring and analysis, and threat mitigation. The products that make up this suite are:
• Cisco Security Manager
• Cisco Security Monitoring, Analysis, and Response System (MARS)
Figure 1. Cisco Security Management Suite-The Integrated Solution for Managing the Self-Defending Network
Cisco Security Manager is a powerful but easy-to-use solution for configuring firewall, VPN, and intrusion prevention system (IPS) policies on Cisco security firewalls, routers, and appliances (Figure 2). To deal with the complexity of different security devices, operating systems, and configuration interfaces, Cisco Security Manager has been designed to act as a layer of abstraction. The result is an application with usability enhancements that deliver a superior look and feel to simplify the process of scalable policy definition and deployment (Figure 3). For example, if a network or security administrator wants to implement a policy of limited instant-messaging traffic during business hours, they can do so in a series of simple clicks. The user experience is the same regardless of the actual security device type that is enforcing the rule-whether it is a Cisco PIX
® firewall, a Cisco IOS
® Software-based integrated services router, a Cisco ASA adaptive security appliance, or a Cisco Catalyst
® switch services module. Cisco Security Manager helps administrators reduce user error and maintain consistent policies across the secure network infrastructure.
The second component of the Cisco Security Management Suite is Cisco Security MARS, an appliance-based, all-inclusive solution that provides insight and control of the existing security deployment. This appliance allows network and security administrators to identify, manage, and counter security threats. By using the existing network and security infrastructure, Cisco Security MARS can monitor security events and information from a wide variety of sources, including third-party devices and hosts. By using a best-of-breed correlation engine, Cisco Security MARS can not only identify anomalous behavior and security threats, but can also recommend precision removal of those elements, leading to rapid threat mitigation. In addition, the Cisco Security MARS appliance can use the vast amounts of information collected for forensics analysis and compliance reporting.
These products are built upon an architecture that facilitates integration with other security management tools for even greater value. The Cisco Secure Access Control Server provides identity-based services that provide centralized control for role-based access to the management applications. This allows administrators to ensure enforcement of assigned policies on user access rights, privileges, and command controls. With Cisco Secure ACS acting as the policy control point with authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) services, network and security administrators can help enforce the rules of who is allowed onto the network, what they are allowed to access, and when.
Together, these applications provide the core capabilities for managing a Cisco security network. The products within this suite might not directly address every challenge facing a network. Examples of this might include antivirus software to protect servers and hosts or vulnerability assessment tools. To address these needs, Cisco Systems
® looks to other products in its broad portfolio and also engages in a comprehensive partner strategy that allows customers to truly take advantage of best-of-breed products. By providing this integration, the Cisco Security Management Suite delivers a next-generation solution for managing today's security networks.
The tools within the Cisco Security Management Suite are built upon a framework that facilitates communication between the components. This integration enables network and security administrators to derive additional value from implementing the complete solution.
For example, when Cisco Security MARS is monitoring the network and a specific security incident is detected, the appliance has the ability to correlate that incident to the policy rule that has been violated within Cisco Security Manager to create that event. By providing a simple Web linkage, an administrator is able to quickly drill down from event notification to identification, along with specifics about the precise network behavior that caused the incident. This level of integration adds tremendous value in terms of facilitating workflow within an organizations management group.
Another example is the linkage between Cisco Secure ACS with the other management applications in the suite. Using the AAA services as a policy control engine, administrators can enforce role-based access control (RBAC) for Cisco Security Manager. Depending on a specific user's privileges, they may be able to only define policy, or perhaps deploy policy, or perhaps even only view configurations on a specific set of devices. This level of control is especially important when working with a powerful security configuration application such as Cisco Security Manager.
Cisco's strategy is to address the security management challenges and pain points from a business process perspective, not from an individual point product perspective. These areas of value-added integration will continue to evolve along with the Cisco Security Management Suite, making the solution the ideal method to manage Cisco Self-Defending Network.
With a powerful set of applications, an integrated architecture, and a comprehensive partnering strategy, the Cisco Security Management Suite is positioned to provide organizations with a best-of-breed management solution for their security networks. With tools that automate and simplify operational tasks, administrators can derive value from:
• Policy consistency and security assurance-Cisco Security Manager allows you to deploy consistent security policies across thousands of security devices in a short span of time.
• Rapid threat mitigation for improved company network uptime-Cisco Security MARS allows organizations to quickly identify and respond to network and security threats such as worms and viruses, preventing widespread outbreaks and significant downtime.
• Better control of and access to security information for forensics analysis and reporting-The applications in the Cisco Security Management Suite can collect information that is instrumental for organizational compliance reporting.
• Accounting and tracking of user network access and authorization-Cisco Secure ACS provides a central policy engine to control user access and privilege levels for network access.
By providing this level of integration, the Cisco Security Management Suite delivers increased security, better organizational productivity, and lower overall TCO.
SUPPORTING SOLUTIONS, PRODUCTS, PARTNERS, OR SERVICE OFFERINGS
Supporting solutions, products, and partner offerings for the Cisco Security Management Suite include:
• The Cisco Self-Defending Network
• Cisco Network Admission Control
• Cisco Incident Control System
With its powerful applications and integrated architecture, Cisco can provide the broadest range of security solutions for enterprise customers. Now with a single solution, administrators can confidently configure systems, monitor events, analyze and respond to threats, and manage network users throughout their entire integrated security infrastructure. The Cisco Security Management Suite provides the following benefits:
• Improved return on investment through enhanced security, based on intelligent tools that enable quick and easy detection, location, and mitigation of attacks
• Lowered total cost of ownership due to a consistent application of security policies across devices, and matching those policies to administrative workflows
• Increased IT productivity based on automation of mass configurations of security policies, bulk firmware upgrades, and ongoing management of remote firewalls
• More simple, elegant system designs that enable better management of hundreds of thousands of security devices
• Integrated system usage across the enterprise based on an easy-to-use Web-based GUI that allows staff to work effectively with a wide range of devices
• Better cost control due to decreased disruptions as a result of less user error