Cisco held its annual customer conclave in Las Vegas this week and aside from the actual heat – which averaged about 109 every day – it was clear from the start that security was the hottest topic. As one Cisco exec put it “it’s great to be at what’s becoming quickly the biggest security conference in the world.”
There were of course some other technologies discussed at the show. Here we take a look at some of the hottest topics from Cisco Live!
CEO Chuck Robbins
This is Chuck Robbins first Cisco Live! as CEO and he put his stamp on the show. In his keynote he played up all manner of areas Cisco will need to battle in to stay out in front of competitors. In the security realm he said that the two things that are going to be most important in the future are security and innovating over and over quickly. "Our acquisition strategy is core. It's core to our overall innovation strategy," Robbins said. “We’ve bought over 190 companies. Since I was named CEO in May a year ago we’ve actually bought 15, so we’ve been sort of active.”
Most of those acquisitions have been in the areas of security and/or cloud software.
While Cisco touts its software innovation these days, Robbins doesn’t forget about where the money still comes from: “There is a massive global internet that is getting bigger that has more traffic and more connections and more video, more content, and I don’t think you’re going to replace all that high-powered performance with just software.”
Cisco’s focus on security and the acquisition of key companies was on display at Live! as the company enhanced key technology it has acquired from technology companies in the past couple years. A couple of the key announcements included Umbrella Roaming which Cisco said is a cloud-delivered protection that is the simplest way to remove off-network blind spots, guarding roaming employees wherever they work. With Umbrella Roaming, now embedded as a module with AnyConnect organizations end users can be blocked from reaching malicious Web sites even when their devices are disconnected from the corporate network. This is technology gleaned from Cisco’s purchase of OpenDNS last year.
Another new security option is Cisco Umbrella Branch, a cloud service that lets users via existing Integrated Services Routers (ISR) perform content filtering and could be used to control what site guests can access when they use branch Wi-Fi. This reduces WAN traffic by making it unnecessary to backhaul branch traffic to a main site for such filtering, Cisco stated.
“Digital business is the most impactful disruption to security in the history of the technology industry. 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,” said David Goeckeler, senior vice president and general manager, Networking and Security Business, Cisco.
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