Cisco, Verizon, Novell Look to Secure the Cloud

Cisco Systems is offering new e-mail and Web security services that attempt to make cloud computing more secure. The services are part of Cisco's larger Secure Borderless Network architecture. In a separate announcement, Verizon and Novell say they are partnering on a identity management solution for cloud environments.

Cisco Systems, Verizon Business and Novell are unveiling offerings designed to make cloud computing more secure.

Cisco on April 28 announced security services based around e-mail and the Internet that are part of the company's cloud protection push and its Secure Borderless Network architecture, which aims to give users secure access to their corporate resources at any time, from anywhere and on any device.

Cisco's IronPort Email Data Loss Prevention and Encryption, and ScanSafe Web Intelligence Reporting, are designed to work with the company's other Web security solutions to give businesses greater flexibility in their security offerings while streamlining management requirements, improving visibility and reducing costs.

For their part, Verizon and Novell are collaborating to create an on-demand identity and access management service called Secure Access Services from Verizon. The service, announced April 28, is designed to enable enterprises to decide and manage who gets access to cloud-based resources.

The identity-as-a-server solution is the first of several joint offerings planned by Verizon and Novell, according to the companies.

Studies continue to show that businesses are likely to continue moving toward a cloud computing environment, but issues such as security and access control continue to be key concerns.

Officials from all three vendors say the new services will give businesses a greater sense of ease as they map out their cloud computing strategies.

"The cloud is a critical component of Cisco's architectural approach, including its Secure Borderless Network architecture," Tom Gillis, vice president and general manager of Cisco's Security Technology business unit, said in a statement. "Securing the cloud is highly challenging. But it is one of the top challenges that the industry must rise to meet as enterprises increasingly demand the flexibility, accessibility and ease of management that cloud-based applications offer for their mobile and distributed workforces."

Cisco's ScanSafe Web Intelligence Reporting platform is the result of the vendor's purchase of ScanSafe in December 2009. It's designed to give users a better idea of how their Internet resources are being used. The goal is to ensure that business-critical workloads are not being hindered by non-business-related traffic.

The platform can report on user-level data and information on Web communications activities within seconds, and offers more than 80 predefined reports.

The IronPort e-mail protection solution is designed to protect outbound e-mail in the cloud, according to Cisco officials. Enterprises that don't want to manage their e-mail can turn to this service, which also provides hosted mailboxes, while keeping control of e-mail policies. It also offers the option of integrated encryption.

These are the latest in Cisco's growing portfolio of cloud security offerings. Officials said the company operates more than 30 data centers around the world, and the security offerings handle large amounts of activity on a daily basis, including 2.8 billion reputation look-ups, 2.5 billion Web requests and the detection of more than 250 billion spam messages.

The Secure Access Services from Verizon and Novell are designed to enable enterprises to move away from the cost and complexity of using traditional premises-based identity and access management software for securing their applications.

The new services offer centralized management of Web access to applications and networks, as well as identity federation and Web single sign-on.

"Security and identity management are critical to accelerating cloud computing adoption and by teaming with Verizon we can deliver these important solutions," Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian said in a statement.

Verizon is bringing the security expertise, infrastructure, management capabilities and portal to the service. Novell is providing the identity and security software.