You may not think it, but Cisco is a security company

MIAMI – Chances are when you think of Cisco Systems, Inc., you’re not thinking about security. Well, that will change according to David Ulevitch, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s security business group.

At the company’s Partner Connection Week in Miami, Ulevitch took the stage to tell partners that Cisco is serious about security, and the opportunity Cisco has as a company to take advantage of the need for security in this day and age. How, you might ask? It starts with automation in the cloud.

Ulevitch identifies two significant issues that he says Cisco has overcome: the Silo problem and A.S. problem.

With the Silo problem he looked back at this year’s RSA Conference, and at the 600 security vendors who attended. While that means there are a lot of eyeballs on security, Ulevitch identifies the problem that none of these solutions talk to one another. “A company may have up to 50 different security vendors in their environment. This doesn’t happen anywhere else. You don’t see someone using One Drive and Drop Box at the same time,” said Ulevitch.

The next is the A.S. problem, or, the ‘artificially stupidity’ problem. Ulevitch isn’t worried about the possibility of robots and artificial intelligence rising up to take us down Terminator-style. He’s worried about the opposite. He uses the example of a c-level executive getting kicked out of a network because an automated security process saw that this executive left their iPad at home, which was then deemed a security risk. “If we do this [automation] poorly with no context, we make bad decisions,” he said.

Ulevitch points to the company’s cloud delivered enterprise solution, Cisco Umbrella, as the answer.

“The cloud is our secret weapon. I think about the cloud as this incredible giant state machine for security that we can tie into everything,” said Ulevitch.

The cloud provides a larger net that is necessary with enterprise applications. Employees and end-users have these apps on their mobile devices, or their laptops, and they aren’t always working on a secure network in an office building. In 2017, employees work from home, or Starbucks, and they need to be covered.

And with that larger net, you need automation in order to cover everything. This goes back to the A.S. problem and the iPad anecdote. If automation is done correctly, then “you can drive a new network strategy by seeing whether or not that person signed into the building, for instance,” said Ulevitch.

With Cisco Umbrella, Ulevitch predicts that the next wave of security offerings is coming, which he called Security as a Managed Service. “More and more people want to outsource security. You can build a reoccurring subscription base with security,” said Ulevitch.

“I think the entire market is moving in that direction. More and more customers are going to be going this route instead of just buying security products. Not everyone knows how to deploy security, or even manage it in-house,” he said.

And what’s Cisco’s role in all of this?

“I believe this is an opportunity for Cisco to bring the market along with us. We will be the largest security company in the world, and we’ll be there in no time,” said Ulevitch.

You can read about Cisco Umbrella here.

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Alex Radu
Alex Radu
is a staff writer for Computer Dealer News. When not writing about the tech industry, you can find him reading, watching TV/movies, or watching the Lakers rebuild with one eye open.

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