Cisco primes the network for digital transformation

LAS VEGAS — Some time ago, Cisco products were closed systems, said customer Kaushik Saha, a digital architect at India-based IT services firm Wipro. That’s not the case anymore — and it’s a good thing, he quickly added.

Indeed. At its Cisco Live event in Las Vegas, Cisco Systems Inc. expounded on its current approach to networking, one that takes into account the IT needs of the digital transformation era.

According to CEO Chuck Robbins during his opening keynote, customers are embracing mobility, cloud, analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) as they look to digitize business operations.

Simply put, the “digital-ready” network has to keep up, according to Robbins. Building off its Digital Network Architecture (DNA) approach it announced this past March, Robbin noted that the technology helps organizations as they make the shift from hardware-centric to software-driven, from manual to automated, and from closed to programmable.

And as the network evolves, so too should the cybersecurity approach, according to the company; Cisco on Monday unveiled new services and cloud-based security solutions built with Cisco’s threat-centric security architecture. According to the company, the tools focus on the network to the endpoint to the cloud, an approach that enables enterprises to more quickly identify threats and remediate them in less than 17 hours – much faster than the industry standard of 100 days.

Specifically, Cisco announced the following:

Cisco Umbrella Roaming: A centralized, cloud-delivered protection approach that aims to to remove off-network blind spots, guarding roaming employees wherever they work. With Umbrella Roaming, now embedded as a module with Cisco’s AnyConnect VPN solution, organizations can add a new layer of off-network protection that blocks connections to malicious sites without needing to deploy another agent.

Cisco Umbrella Branch: This cloud-delivered solution gives businesses more control over guest Wi-Fi use with easy content filtering. With Umbrella Branch, businesses can simply upgrade Integrated Services Routers (ISR) for simple, fast and comprehensive security at branch locations.

Cisco Defense Orchestrator: This cloud-based management application enables users to
easily and effectively manage a large security infrastructure and policies in distributed locations across thousands of devices through a simple cloud-based console. It cuts through complexity to manage security policies across Cisco security products from ASA and ASAv firewalls to Cisco Firepower next- generation firewalls and ASA with FirePOWERTM Services featuring Firepower Threat Defense, and OpenDNS.

Cisco Meraki MX Security Appliances with Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) and Threat Grid : This cloud-managed unified threat management (UTM) solution simplifies advanced threat protection for the distributed enterprise, providing branch offices with malware protection that checks files against its cloud database to identify malicious content, blocking the files before users download them.

Stealthwatch Learning Networks License: This component enables the Cisco ISR to act as a security sensor and enforcer for branch threat protection. It allows businesses to detect and track anomalies in network traffic, analyze suspicious network activity, and identify malicious traffic.

Robbins offered that in addition to Cisco partnerships and acquisitions, the focus on cloud-based IT security at the network layer will be important moving forward.

As a company, Cisco is focused on moving “fast, and then even faster than that” when it comes to digital transformation and the network, Robbins said.

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Ryan Patrick
Ryan Patrick
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