Cisco introduces a new style of security

SAN DIEGO, CA. – Security is not exactly what Cisco is known for in the marketplace, but its chief security lead David Goeckeler considers the networking giant to be the largest enterprise security vendor.

The company has developed a security portfolio over the years organically and from acquisition namely Sourcefire and Lancope Inc., but for the channel Cisco’s go-to-market strategy may be more of interest. Goeckeler, senior vice president and GM of Cisco’s security business group, has developed a strategy where security will be everywhere Cisco operates.

“There are way too many point products in the market and customers are dealing with an overwhelming complexity of point products,” he said.

According to Goeckeler, Cisco has found that 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.”

This is leading to an interesting conundrum for chief security officers where more money is being spent on security but they feel less secure. Cisco’s approach will be to integrate security of the network in a cloud and digital world.

John Growdon, senior director, channels business development for security at Cisco, said for the channel this strategy brings an abundant level of security services opportunity. And, from a customer point of view what are the costs associated to an organization for handling the maintenance of 50 to 60 different products.

With its security strategy, Growdon said the company is also integrating with distributors and have asked them to target a set of partners for security enablement.

Another factor for security is how will it look in a digital company or community? Chief Digital Officer Chris Gabriel of solution provider Logicalis believes security needs to be nameless because the value has to be everywhere.

Matthew Gyde, group executive for security at Dimension Data, its part of a services business play because they already have digital practices in place. “Clients are moving from a security as a device like a firewall to security-as-a-service. That’s a different architectural change with the cloud,” he added.

Dimension Data has its own cloud platform targeted at addressing clients needs in a digital age.

Point products will not be part of Cisco’s security strategy. 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.”

Gyde has seen some customers with 79 security devices and what this does is introduce risk to the environment. “This change is not happening overnight. There is some planning for a two to three-year transition to get out of the complexity.”

Mark Melvin, CTO of solution provider Eplus said with security point products there are too many things to watch and that adds to the complexity. During his career, Melvin worked on the US Army Network and in that there were 13 different security point products and even with a lower number the discussion, he said, was on how to support all of those products.

Going forward solution providers, Melvin added, should work on security design and analytical tools are also important for security. The one thing solution providers should not do is be reactive.

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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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