Cisco Looks to Simplify the Network Security Landscape

by Matt Klassen on March 4, 2016

ciscosecurity0For many enterprise IT departments and chief security officers, the challenge in creating effective network defences is not a lack of network security options, but instead an overwhelming number of them. More to the point, the current enterprise security landscape is a patchwork of solutions, with security vendors often focusing on one kind of defence to one sort of problem.

Given just how many ways an enterprise data network can be exploited you can image how the number of effective security solutions quickly balloons, and the result is that many companies now deal with somewhere between 50 and 100 different security vendors in their networks.

What the enterprise security industry needs is simplicity, a one-stop shop of security solutions, as it were, and Cisco is confident that it has the tools, the reach, and the resources to fill that gap.

Simply put, Cisco is working to change how enterprise views network security, seeing it not as a device that you use per se, but more as a cloud-based service that traverses both the physical and digital worlds, a comprehensive suite of security solutions in an ocean of different options.

Granted we likely don’t think of Cisco as a data security company, but over the last few years the networking giant has quietly grown its security portfolio, both internally through organic responses to client needs, and externally, through several timely acquisitions. Now, according to David Goeckeler, senior vice president and GM of Cisco’s security business group, Cisco stands as the largest enterprise security vendor. But what truly sets Cisco apart from the competition is the company’s all-encompassing approach to network security management.

“There are way too many point products in the market and customers are dealing with an overwhelming complexity of point products,” Goeckeler said. Further, he noted that Cisco has found that some customers are dealing with 50 or more security vendors in their networks. “Some have well over 100 and stringing together best of breed products isn’t working.” Simply put, while companies may turn to the best security solution available to solve a particular problem, the result is a confusing, vulnerable, and not to mention expensive patchwork solution.

Now at its heart, Cisco’s security strategy is not about products, but about integrating security into the fundamentals of everything the company does. More to the point, instead of creating security products, Cisco is rebuilding its entire corporate strategy around security, making it a fundamental part of its entire business.

As Goeckeler said, you can’t bolt on security products after the project is rolled out. “You have to work on developing a strategy around security because if you go to the RSA conference you’ll find more than 500 vendors there.”

John Growdon, Cisco’s senior director of security partner strategy, explains it this way: “What differentiates us from other security vendors out there, is because it is a market [with] a bunch of point products, and we approach it across multiple products, our partner community can sell more services associated with deploying an entire architecture. It is unique to us; it’s very different and our partners have that capability where other point product partners don’t necessarily have that capability.”

Now of course Cisco’s entire push to consolidate all security solutions into one vendor, namely itself, does, in my mind, make the networking giant a Jack-of-all-trades, as it were, and unfortunately, a King-of-none. But if Cisco’s solutions effectively solve the security solutions facing the enterprise today, such simplicity and cost-effectiveness will likely be very attractive to a great many businesses.

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