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A Look At Cisco's Self-Defense Plan

Cisco Systems last week took the next step in its quest to develop self-defending networks, rolling out a spate of new products, software enhancements and services designed to minimize risks by addressing threats at multiple layers of a network.

The products, unveiled in a keynote by CEO John Chambers at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, run the gamut from desktop-level to switch-level security. They share a common framework—a new approach called Adaptive Threat Defense, which simplifies architectural designs and more tightly controls security devices in the Cisco line.

"Whatever you do has to be self-defending and cannot require human intervention," Chambers told the RSA audience. "It has to be one that focuses as much on process change as it does on IT change, and it has to anticipate where the IT industry is going three or five years down the road."

Topping the list of new products is Cisco IPS version 5.0, part of the vendor's IPS 4200 series of appliances. The product, which competes with offerings from antivirus vendors Symantec and McAfee, delivers in-line prevention services with new network antivirus, antispyware and worm-mitigation capabilities.

The San Jose, Calif.-based vendor also unveiled its Cisco Security Monitoring, Analysis and Response System (CS-MARS), which incorporates technology from Cisco's acquisition of Protego in December 2004.

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