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Cisco & Juniper Heat Up Cloud Security Feud

Mitch Wagner
4/11/2018
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Cisco and Juniper are stepping up their cloud security rivalry, fleshing out their competing cloud security services with new capabilities, extending from the public cloud to private cloud and on-premises infrastructure.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is introducing two new consumption models for its Cisco Tetration security service: Tetration SaaS delivers cloud-based security for cloud-first and cloud-only organizations, and Tetration-V is a virtual appliance available for deployment on-premises or managed private clouds, the company said in a statement announcing the changes on Tuesday. (See Cisco Tetration Workload Protection Extended with new Options: SaaS and Virtual Appliance.)

Also, Cisco is extending Tetration up the stack to secure cloud workloads; previously it concentrated on delivering network security by analyzing network traffic. Tetration protects on-premises, public and private cloud workloads. (See Cisco Debuts Security for 'Any Data Center & for Any Cloud'.)

Previously, Cisco debuted analytics designed to detect security threats in the growing percentage of network traffic that is encrypted. (See Cisco Plugs Encryption Hole in Network Security)


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Tetration was previously available as a virtual appliance for Amazon Web Services Inc. and Microsoft Azure ; what's new is the on-premises virtual appliance and SaaS consumption model. The SaaS is initially available in the US, managed and delivered from Cisco, with no hardware requirement, and "pay as you grow" pricing starting at 100 licenses with one- to three-year subscription offerings, Cisco says.

Cisco sees the SaaS model as particularly appealing to smaller companies, who find it hard to find security pros. "Because of the skills shortage, a lot of customers prefer to go SaaS," Yogesh Kaushik, Cisco senior director for Tetration product management, said in an interview.

The virtual appliance route is appealing to enterprises with tight security and compliance restrictions, particularly big financial services firms with their own "army of security professionals in-house," Kaushik says. European businesses with strict data residency regulations find virtual appliances appealing, but even in Europe companies are starting to look into the SaaS model because Cisco doesn't expose personal identifiable information (PII).

Tetration is part of Cisco's portfolio of security products; it provides hardening to protect against attacks before they happen, Kaushik says. Other services and products detect attacks in progress and provide remediation. (See Cisco: Attackers 'Weaponize' Cloud Services)

Earlier this month, Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) enhanced its security platform designed to protect enterprise networks and cloud workloads in AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform and private data centers, the company said in an April 3 announcement. (See Juniper Networks Simplifies Threat Response .)

'The threats just keep coming'
The updates integrate technology Juniper scooped up when it acquired Cyphort. (See Juniper Snapping Up Cyphort for Security.)

"We're addressing the shortage of security personnel," Amy James, Juniper senior director of security product marketing, said in an interview. Cloud operators have too many consoles, alerts and false positives. Enterprises also need faster threat detection.

"Faster detection is king of everything," James says. "The threats just keep coming. The cybercriminals are organized, funded and innovative. They have every advantage in the world, they don't have to play by any rules, they have no compliance requirements, they have no auditing. It's a challenge for our customers to stay ahead of that."

Juniper integrated its SRX Series Next-Generation Firewalls to feed information directly into the Advanced Threat Prevention (ATP) appliance, to provide better information on alerts to enable security pros to prioritize and act on threats faster. Juniper also provides adaptive detection and automated enforcement, and extended cloud workload protection with integration into AWS. For Juniper's Sky AtP service, the company adds data centers in Asia-Pacific and Canada, in addition to existing data centers in the US and Europe.

Lopsided rivalry
Juniper and Cisco aren't exactly a David-and-Goliath story, but Cisco certainly outguns the other company. Cisco's annual sales last year were $48 billion, while Juniper's were a more modest $5 billion. Cisco has a broad range of software and services, including networking equipment, security, collaboration and rack-mounted data center servers. Juniper specializes in end-to-end networking and security.

Cisco recently came out of a slump, growing quarterly revenue -- albeit modestly -- for the first time in two years, in the quarter ending January 27. The company is in a long, multi-year transition from selling networking equipment to recurring revenue based on software and services. And security is a significant part of Cisco's growth strategy. (See Cisco Returns to Growth, With Help From Network Automation and Cisco Reports $11.9B 2Q Revenue, Up 3% YoY.)

At Juniper, revenue declined 10.5% to $1.24 billion for the fourth quarter ending December 31, and the company lowered expectations for the first quarter of 2018. (See Investors Jumpy Over Juniper Q1 Outlook.)

Juniper blames changing buying patterns by cloud providers for its declining fortune. But at least one analyst was skeptical, noting that Juniper's competitors (including Cisco!) are weathering that storm more successfully, and that these patterns have been shifting for a while. But security revenue is a bright spot for Juniper, and CEO Rami Rahim says he expects to recover year-over-year revenue growth by the end of the year.(See Is the Cloud Drowning Juniper?.)

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— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Follow me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading

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