Cisco Tightens Security, Its “number one priority”
Nov03

Cisco Tightens Security, Its “number one priority”

Now that National Cyber Security Awareness Month has come and gone, it’s apparently safe for Cisco to announce it has new and improved security products and features that advance its Security Everywhere strategy ‘ deeper into the cloud, network, and endpoints’. The company has also beefed up its security assets with a number of recent acquisitions, including Lancope, Inc. (intent to acquire) – October 27; Portcullis (intent to acquire) – September 30; and Pawaa – August 6; all following the June 30 acquisition of OpenDNS, which figures in today’s announcements. The announcements tie into the company’s recent acquisitions, said Scott Harrell. VP of Product Management for Cisco’s Security Business. They also address two thematic elements: “how do we extend capabilities into the cloud, and reach further into the cloud”, he told IT Trends & Analysis. Security is the company’s “number one priority”, he said, so much so that John Chambers, who recently passed the CEO torch to Chuck Robbins, is driving the company’s security focus as part of his responsibilities as Executive Chairman. “He’s our executive sponsor,” said Harrell. “He’s heavily engaged, but it’s more of an advisory role.” The company reported a 12% increase in security-related revenue last fiscal year, to $1.75 billion. The cybersecurity market is expected to be worth $77 billion this year, climbing to as much as $170 billion by 2020, so Cisco has a lot of opportunity. “I expect security to grow very healthily as we move forward. And you will continue to see us make a number of resource investments in areas like services, sales, and consultancy in a way that really brings this picture to life. I think you’re going to see good growth out of our security business. . .we are positioned really well.” (Q2 FY15 Earnings Call, February 11, 2015) According to Harrell, most of the security industry tends to ignore the network. “We think that’s a mistake.” He said Cisco believes that the network ought to be part of the solution. Most of the time, they compete with other vendors, sometimes they partner, and sometimes they do both. With today’s announcements, “we’re adding a competitor we fight with every day, Check Point.” That’s because it’s all about the customer, said Harrell. We want to solve the customer problem, “make everything around us work better.” A few weeks prior to National Cyber Security Awareness Month Cisco was rocked by news of a major attack against its routers. Called SYNful Knock, it is ‘a stealthy modification of the router’s firmware image that can be used to maintain persistence within a victim’s network. It is customizable and modular in nature and thus...

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