Cisco bolsters cloud security offering with new solutions

Cisco Umbrella Roaming, Defense Orchestrator, Security for Digital Transformation, and the three new DNA security offerings are all designed to improve and simplify security over networks.

Cisco has announced six new cloud-based services and solutions as part of its security portfolio: Umbrella Roaming, Defense Orchestrator, Security for Digital Transformation, Umbrella Branch, Stealthwatch Learning Network License, and Meraki MX Security Appliances with Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) and Threat Grid.

The new services form part of Cisco's suite of solutions to embed security in the access points and endpoints on the network; according to CEO Chuck Robbins, 47 percent of Cisco's security portfolio is now delivered via software.

The first new simplified security offering, Cisco Umbrella Roaming, is an AnyConnect module to protect a business' roaming employees from off-network threats and site connections while working remotely.

The second service announced, Cisco Defense Orchestrator, simplifies security infrastructure and policy management across a large number of devices via a single cloud-based console incorporating Cisco's ASA, ASAv firewalls, Firepower firewalls, ASA with FirePower services, and OpenDNS security products.

"How this works is a cloud-based portal connects to all of your on-prem security infrastructure ... the first thing it does is just rationalises all that policy and makes sure it's all the same," David Goeckeler, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Networking and Security Business, said during the keynote speech by Robbins at Cisco Live Las Vegas on Monday morning.

"You can deploy new policy, do reporting all from the cloud, to get this system security management from the cloud.

"In the security world, we have an active adversary, so we have someone who's attacking us all the time, so what Cisco has mastered is this ability into what's going on in the world, what's happening on the web, what's happening through email, what's happening with infrastructure; we will take all that information and turn it into policy in real time that we can push out across our infrastructure, so this gives you one place in the cloud to manage the entire policy across the enterprise.

"This is all about using the network as a sensor ... it's how we get information out of the network to find where the most advanced threats are in the world. Perimiter security is not sufficient anymore -- there are some threats within the infrastructure so wouldn't it make sense to monitor the interior of the network to find them?"

In addition to these security solutions, Cisco Security for Digital Transformation provides businesses with access to security experts who advise on approaches to security and provide "tailored solutions based on industry trends and vital business needs to achieve agility, innovation, and growth", the company said.

The other three solutions -- Umbrella Branch, Stealthwatch Learning Network License, and Meraki MX Security Appliances with AMP and Threat Grid -- make up part of its Digital Network Architecture (DNA) solution to enable network engineers, application developers, channel partners, and IT customers to embed improved and simplified security within their network infrastructure layer.

"Digital business is the most impactful disruption to security in the history of the technology industry," Goeckeler said.

"As a result, companies are struggling to manage the security challenges from both large, distributed environments and the active adversaries aggressively targeting these expansive attack surfaces every day.

"Our customers are finding that they need a more integrated approach to security, and Cisco provides them with a threat-centric security architecture that is much more effective in a digital world."

During his keynote, Robbins labelled security as being critical to Cisco's overarching strategy, with research released by Cisco in April showing that cybersecurity is now a board-level business strategy decision.

According to the Cybersecurity as a Growth Advantage report, 64 percent of executives acknowledge cybersecurity as being fundamental to their strategy for digital growth, while 44 percent said cybersecurity is a competitive advantage and almost 33 percent said its primary purpose is as a growth enabler.

"The finance teams are saying it's bringing in growth. I feel more confident that it's not just the executive team, but also the guys that are controlling the money that are seeing the true growth in the business," said John N Stewart, Cisco's chief security and trust officer senior vice president.

Cisco last month also said it would bolster its enterprise IT security portfolio through the acquisition of enterprise API cloud-access security company CloudLock. The company's approach works via software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps including Microsoft Office365, Google Drive, and Salesforce.

The CloudLock business will fall under Goeckeler's networking and security business group once the deal closes around November.

Cisco's CloudLock acquisition followed its purchase of security software maker Sourcefire, cybersecurity firm Lancope, and threat protection security firm OpenDNS.

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to Cisco Live in Las Vegas as a guest of Cisco.