Cisco Hopes To Tap Into Growing Security Awareness

It’s almost RSA Conference 2015 time (April 20-24), so has joined the legion of other companies with a report finding that the situation is bad and getting worse. Fortunately, like every other security product and/or service provider out there, they’re trying to help and have a set of new products and services. Unfortunately, the networking giant said customers are only just starting to come to terms with the wide gap between perception and protection, and security budgets – and skills – aren’t where they need to be.

Security is now a boardroom conversation, said Cisco’s Paul Davis, Director of Advanced Threats Security Solution Architects. However, there’s also a huge gap in organizations’ ability to respond, and the availability of skilled resources, he told IT Trends & Analysis.

According to a recent PwC study, security compromises increased 64% in 2014, said Cisco’s Jason Brvenik, Principal Engineer of the Security Business Group. He said there’s certainly awareness at the board level about security. “What’s lagging is that investment that comes along with it.”

According to a recent report, the North American network security market is expected to expand at an anemic compound annual growth rate of 6.68% between 2015-2019. The report states that network security ‘has gained increased traction among enterprises worldwide because of a considerable increase in cyber-attacks.’

Infonetics’ fourth quarter 2014 (4Q14) and year-end Network Security and Software report noted that global network security appliance and software revenue climbed 6% in 2014, to $6.9 billion. That revenue growth is expected to slow, however, as the industry transitions to lower-ASP virtualized security solutions. “Integrated advanced threat prevention security solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile networks and industrial environments will help support overall market growth,” said Jeff Wilson, principal analyst for security at Infonetics Research, now part of IHS.

A rosier – or at least less bleak – prediction says the cyber security market is ‘currently undergoing unprecedented growth and development’, and will account for $75.4 billion globally, this year. ‘Almost every month a major cyber event occurs which forces security to the top of the news agenda, encouraging governments to pass new legislation and expand their defenses and capabilities.’

A recent IBM-sponsored study from Ponemon Institute offered some scary numbers for the surging mobile phenomenon: nearly 40% of large companies aren’t taking the right precautions to secure the mobile apps they build for customers; at any given time, malicious code is infecting more than 11.6 million mobile devices; the average company tests less than half of the mobile apps they build; 33% never test their apps; and 50% devote zero budget whatsoever towards mobile security. “Industries need to think about security at the same level on which highly efficient, collaborative cyber criminals are planning attacks,” said Caleb Barlow, Vice President of Mobile Management and Security at IBM.

Cisco’s latest data offers a disturbing look at why cyber security is in such a perilous state:

-54% of breaches remain undiscovered for months;

-60% of data is stolen in hours; and,

-100% of companies connect to domains that host malicious files or services.

It estimates the global cybercrime market is worth somewhere between $450 billion and $1 trillion, and details how industrial hackers monetize the opportunities:

-Social Security $1;

-DDOS as a Service ~$7/hour;

-Medical Record >$50;

-Bank Account Info >$1000 depending on account type and balance;

-Credit Card Data $0.25-$60;

-Mobile Malware $150;

-Spam $50/500K emails;

-Malware Development $2500 (commercial malware);

-Exploits $1000-$300K; and,

-Facebook Account $1 for an account with 15 friends.

Earlier this year Cisco released the results of a survey of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and Security Operations executives at 1,700 companies and found that you can’t fix stupid… security. It’s not your same-old security environment, said Brvenik. “The industrialization of hacking is in full effect.” He said the bad guys are organized, have quarterly targets and people managing them.

Cisco already dominates the security appliance market with 16.6% share of global revenue in 4Q14. Worldwide vendor revenue grew 8.6% year over year to $2.6 billion in the fourth quarter, but shipments grew nearly twice as fast as revenue at 16.7% year over year to 635,933 units. For the full year, revenue and shipments improved 8.4% and 8.3% respectively to $9.4 billion and 2.1 million units. The other top vendors were Check Point (13.2%), Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and tied for fifth, Blue Coat and McAfee (Intel), although both vendors experienced declining revenue share on a year over year and sequential basis.

Cisco is also first when it comes to network security, with 30% of the worldwide market in calendar 3Q14, followed by Check Point, Symantec, Huawei, Juniper Networks and Palo Alto Networks. The year-over-year revenue growth for the company’s security segment has been increasing in double digits since it acquired Sourcefire in July 2013 for $2.7 billion.

Less than a year earlier Cisco shelled out $1.2 billion for Meraki, a developer of wired/wireless LAN and security products managed via the cloud, and primarily targeted at SMBs. It got an extreme makeover in January when it was re-launched as an enterprise class, cloud-managed IT solution.

Meraki has added more than 50,000 customers since the acquisition, and grown 108% in the last 12 months, said Cisco’s Rob Soderbery, SVP of Enterprise Products and Solutions. Now they’re taking it up market to large enterprises.

While Cisco took Meraki up-market, SMBs – or at least MBs – are clearly in the company’s security focus with the expansion of the Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services, which it modestly calls the industry’s first threat-focused . The new offerings are intended to provide midsize companies, branch offices and industrial environments with the same advanced malware protection and threat detection capabilities deployed by large enterprises.

Starting at $995, and available now, the appliances combine , , and next-generation intrusion prevention capabilities (NGIPS) into a single device. The five models are:

-5506-X, desktop threat centric NGFW for small and home offices as well as small businesses;

-5508-X and 5516-X, 1RU threat centric NGFW for branch offices and midsized businesses;

-5506W-X, Desktop threat centric NGFW with Integrated wireless access point; and,

-5506H-X, ruggedized threat centric NGFW for Industrial environments.

Cisco also announced the integration of technology from last year’s acquisition of into the Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) portfolio. The company said AMP Threat Grid provides the latest malware threat intelligence and dynamic malware analysis capabilities, both on-premise and in the cloud, that strengthens Cisco AMP’s continuous analysis and zero-day detection capabilities. In addition, it introduced Incident Response Services that equip organizations with teams of information security experts that leverage threat intelligence and best practices for readiness and response from network to endpoint to cloud.

There are no quick and easy fixes for security’s growing woes. “It’s going to take time for the ramp-up,” said Davis. “I am seeing an uptick in that conversation. I’m also seeing companies creating that role, even in mid-size companies.”

Money isn’t the only stumbling block, he added. “One of the issues is resources: we just don’t have enough people out there.”

As for Cisco’s security future, the company will continue to focus on reducing time to exposure and increasing ROI, said Brvenik. “We continue to push for solutions that are effective, that reduce the cost and complexity in the threat environment.”

Author: Steve Wexler

Share This Post On

Leave a Reply