Security Platforms/Tools

Cisco's Next Big Project

3:15 PM -- Lost amid the bigger news around Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) -- the switch/router stumble, the consumer crunch -- was CEO John Chambers's mention of a new security initiative.

From Wednesday's earnings call:

    Security, we made the number-one priority in engineering, not because of its short-term opportunities but because of its long-term importance architecturally. There's no way you can do security as pinpoint products. ... It has to be integrated with every piece of ASIC, every software, every architecture within it. Padma [Padmasree Warrior, CTO], you and Brett [Galloway, senior VP of wireless, security and routing] own that for me. I expect great things, but I'm realistic: That's over two to three years.

The wording is fractured, but you get the idea. Chambers says security needs to be everywhere. It transcends any single firewall or intrusion prevention products.

Cisco has to love the sound of that. I often jab at the company's "end-to-end" ambitions. Everything has to be a platform or a framework or some other thing that involves buying a suite of products.

But in network security, that approach has some credence. I subscribe to what Bruce Schneier has been preaching for years: Security is a process, not a product. Watch for Cisco to try to turn that process into a product.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:12:57 PM
re: Cisco's Next Big Project

Good point, but I don't think Cisco would go all the way out to every endpoint. Does anybody?

What I can see happening is Cisco claiming to have a network-wide security framework that runs from, say, access points (and equivalent devices) up to the core.  And because security is a process, they could offer the services to go with that.

Whether it's wise for an enterprise or service provider to go with one vendor -- especially at a time when a lot of them (apparently) are moving towards non-Cisco gear and heterogeneous networks -- I don't know.  I'm just saying Cisco loves these kinds of framework plays, and I'm expecting them to go big with this one.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:12:57 PM
re: Cisco's Next Big Project


Think about all the potential security holes then tell me you think that Cisco can do an end to end for Macs, Windows, Linux, Android, iPhones, Window Phones, Every IM client, Skype and all of its competitors, bit torrent, SQL injection, XSS, ya da ya da ya da.

The real issue with the end to end thing is that there are so many ways into a customer now that almost impossible.  It would be really hard just to completely protect one vector.



upand2theright 12/5/2012 | 5:09:39 PM
re: Cisco's Next Big Project

There is an interesting idea at Google to manage multiple devices connecting to the network.  Instead of black-labeling problematic sites, you 'white-label' trusted sites. Sort of a network nanny idea for grown-ups.

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