Cisco Systems has announced a number of new security features for its networking products, including a security service it has developed with Trend Micro that is designed to cut down on the spread of worms and viruses.
The new service, called the Cisco Incident Control System (ICS), will help network administrators set network security policies on Cisco hardware based on security information provided by antivirus vendor Trend Micro, a product manager with Cisco's security technology group, Joel McFarland, said.
Cisco had already partnered with Trend Micro to make its worm and virus signatures available via Cisco's Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), and the companies also are working together on security enhancements for the Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance, McFarland said.
With the new ICS offering, customers would now be able to block the spread of malicious software by using the service to distribute mitigation policies across Cisco networks. "This is really something that delivers an entirely new class of response time," McFarland said. "In a single choreographed move, I can force the enterprise to take a more protective posture."
ICS could save network administrators time by automating router and switch configuration, Current Analysis principal analyst, Joel Conover, said.
But while the service would help protect networks from known threats, like the recent Zotob family of worms, it would not do much to prevent so-called zero-day attacks, which are based on exploits that have not yet been catalogued by antivirus companies like Trend Micro, he said.
Administrators would also have to be careful with ICS to make sure the rules and policies it implements do not break other applications running on the network, Conover said. "The question is, how do you check for the business impact of these rules," he said. "You get this rule from Trend Micro... do you apply it immediately?"
To make things less disruptive, ICS would have a roll-back feature, which would allow administrators to uninstall the security policies should they cause important applications to fail, he said.
Cisco's other product enhancements include an updated version of the Cisco Security Monitoring, Analysis and Response System that can identify and respond to security threats in remote locations like branch offices. The networking vendor also plans to release a new version of its Cisco IPS sometime this month, and a new versions of its Internetwork Operating System (IOS) router operating system in November.
The Cisco Incident Control System will be available next month, with pricing starting at $US9200, Cisco said.