Cisco’s security organization has autonomy

TORONTO – Cisco Systems is well known in the market place as a networking power, but in terms of security they are not one of the most recognizable brands.

The company is trying to change that and have a Global Security Sales Organization (GSSO), which will operate as an independent unit of Cisco. According to Ahmed Etman, the GM of Cyber Security for Cisco Canada, the GSSO will be similar to the company’s Worldwide Partner Organization.

The GSSO will be made up predominately from Cisco’s SourceFire acquisition. Cisco has also consolidated all Cisco workers with a security focus into the GSSO. The GSSO has approximately 5,000 people inside three areas: Engineering, Research and Services.

“We now have a unified strategy with engineering and sales,” Etman said.

In Canada, the GSSO will have 30 people and they will only do security, Etman added.

Cisco’s GSSO has its profit and loss mandate and the leaders of this organization do not report to any other global region of Cisco. GSSO is led by John Negron, who came to Cisco through the SourceFire acquisition. Negron was SourceFire’s senior vice president of worldwide sales. The GSSO is a department within the Security Business Group, one of many business groups at Cisco. The GSSO was created shortly after the SourceFire acquisition.

“The investment (in GSSO) is going into every country regardless of how the Cisco business overall is doing. It does integrate into the Cisco organization and we are leveraging the machine, but we are running it as a security company,” Etman said.

Late in 2014, Cisco added Neohapsis, a Chicago-based security services vendor as part of GSSO. Neohapsis is currently working on planned assessments, which is their core capability along with mobile security.

Security activity at Cisco has increased from 2013. In 2014, Cisco allocated $3 billion in investment, which in large part when to the SourceFire acquisition. Cisco acquired SourceFire in the summer of 2013 for $2.7 billion. Jack Pagano said that at the time Cisco was a big behind in the security market at the time and SourceFire gave the company the ability to leapfrog several security vendors.

Cisco also developed an open source application for detection and control in February of last year. At the time, the company announced it was committed to the open source community.

In May Cisco broaden its advanced malware protection for data centres. Later on in the year, Cisco unveiled ASA with FirePower services and released a new study that showed Canadian businesses were not prepared for advanced security threats.

“This changes the business model for security. The landscape of the threats are changing and evolving. The defenders have to do things differently. How security is being run is the outcome of the first two issues,” Etman said.


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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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