Cisco unveils Cisco Hypershield Reimagines Data Security

Cisco has recently introduced a new approach to securing data centers and clouds in response to the increasing demands placed on IT infrastructure by the AI revolution. This innovation is known as the Cisco Hypershield.

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Cisco unveils Cisco Hypershield Reimagines Data Security

Cisco launches Cyber Hypershield

Cisco, the security and networking provider, has recently introduced a new approach to securing data centers and clouds in response to the increasing demands placed on IT infrastructure by the AI revolution. This innovation, known as Cisco Hypershield, represents a shift in how organizations can protect their applications, devices, and data across various environments.


Hypershield is designed to address the challenges posed by modern workloads, particularly those driven by AI, by providing security outcomes beyond what has been achievable with human efforts alone. It leverages technology originally developed for hyperscale public clouds, making it accessible to enterprise IT teams of all sizes.

“Cisco Hypershield is one of the most significant security innovations in our history,” said Chuck Robbins, Cisco Chairman and CEO. “With our data advantage and strength in security, infrastructure, and observability platforms, Cisco is positioned to help our customers harness the power of AI.” 

Unlike traditional security measures, Hypershield functions more as a fabric than a fence, enabling security enforcement to be deployed wherever it's needed, whether in public or private data centers, clouds, or physical locations. It can secure every application service, Kubernetes cluster, container, virtual machine (VM), and even network port, offering comprehensive protection against application exploits and lateral movement within networks.


Jeetu Patel, Executive Vice President and GM for Security and Collaboration at Cisco. “The power of Cisco Hypershield is that it can put security anywhere you need it – in software, in a server, or the future even in a network switch. When you have a distributed system that could include hundreds of thousands of enforcement points, simplified management is mission-critical. And we need to be orders-of-magnitude more autonomous, at an orders-of-magnitude lower cost.”

Hypershield operates at three layers: in software, virtual machines, and network and compute servers and appliances, utilizing powerful hardware accelerators commonly found in high-performance computing and hyperscale public clouds.

The architecture of Hypershield is built on three key pillars:


1. AI-Native: Hypershield is designed to be autonomous and predictive from the outset, capable of managing itself once it earns trust. This AI-native approach enables hyper-distributed security at scale.

2. Cloud-Native: Built on open-source eBPF, Hypershield leverages the default mechanism for connecting and protecting cloud-native workloads. Cisco's acquisition of Isovalent further strengthens its cloud-native capabilities.

3. Hyper-Distributed: Cisco embeds advanced security controls into servers and the network fabric itself, reimagining traditional network security. Hypershield spans all clouds and leverages hardware acceleration to analyze and respond to anomalies in application and network behavior, bringing security closer to workloads.


Cisco is collaborating with NVIDIA to optimize AI-native security solutions, leveraging NVIDIA Morpheus for accelerated network anomaly detection and NVIDIA NIM microservices for custom security AI assistants. This collaboration aims to deliver powerful and secure data center infrastructure to enterprises across all industries.

Hypershield addresses three key customer challenges in defending against sophisticated threats:

Distributed Exploit Protection: Hypershield delivers protection in minutes by automatically testing and deploying compensating controls into the distributed fabric of enforcement points.


Autonomous Segmentation: It autonomously observes, reasons, and re-evaluates existing policies to segment the network, preventing lateral movement by attackers.

Self-Qualifying Upgrades: Hypershield automates the process of testing and deploying upgrades, ensuring minimal downtime and seamless integration with existing infrastructure.

Expected to be Generally Available in August 2024, Cisco Hypershield, integrated into the Security Cloud, will provide customers with unparalleled visibility and insights across their digital footprint, enhancing security protection.


"AI is not just a force for good but also a tool used for nefarious purposes, allowing hackers to reverse engineer patches and create exploits in record time. Cisco looks to address an AI-enabled problem with an AI solution as Cisco Hypershield aims to tip the scales back in favor of the defender by shielding new vulnerabilities against exploits in minutes - rather than the days, weeks, or even months as we wait for patches to get deployed,” said Frank Dickson, Group Vice President, Security & Trust at IDC. “With the number of vulnerabilities ever increasing and the time for attackers to exploit them at scale ever decreasing, Tools like Hypershield are necessary to combat an increasingly clever malicious cyber adversary."

“Cisco Hypershield aims the complex security challenges of modern, AI-scale data centers. Cisco's vision of a self-managing fabric that seamlessly integrates from the network to the endpoint will help redefine what's possible for security at scale,” said Zeus Kerravala, Founder and Principal Analyst of ZK Research. “For instance, this level of visibility and control across a hyper-distributed environment prevents lateral movement of attackers, enabled through a unique approach to segmentation that's autonomous and highly effective. While this may seem fantastical, the time is right given recent AI advances combined with the maturity of cloud-native technologies like eBPF."

"At AHEAD we believe cybersecurity should be integrated into everything we do. Bolted-on security is more expensive and less effective,” said Steven Aiello, Field Chief Information Security Officer at AHEAD. “Cisco Hypershield ensures that cyber protections are included in the fabric of the enterprise. Distributed Exploit Protection will be a massive win for blue teams - legacy synthetic patching was primarily limited to edge devices, allowing lateral movement once an attacker breached the perimeter. It’s a great day for cyber-defenders!"

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