Cisco touts new software-driven security vision

Cisco has introduced a new suite of intent-based networking security solutions, marking the latest attempt by the company to pivot toward a software-driven mindset to offset declines in its traditional hardware business.

Cisco says these new solutions will anticipate actions, stop security threats, and evolve and learn as service providers and enterprises grow their networks.

These solutions have a clear focus on network security. Specifically, the new security services can identify and fix malicious software cloaked by encryption on enterprise networks. Over 40% of cyberattacks may be hidden in encoded internet traffic, according to security researchers, making detection all the more important.

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The intent-based networking concept is based on three main principles:

Intent: Intent-based networking allows IT to automate intent, making it possible to manage millions of devices in minutes—helping businesses navigate the expanding technology landscape.

Context: By interpreting data in context, the network can provide new insights. Cisco says it’s not just the data that’s important, it’s the context that surrounds it—the who, what, when, where and how. The intuitive network interprets all of this, resulting in what Cisco claims is better security, more customized experiences and faster operations.

Intuition: The new network provides machine-learning at scale. Cisco is using the vast data that flows through its networks around the world, with machine learning built in, and providing that data to provide actionable, predictive insights for its customers.

The company’s hope is that the new Encrypted Traffic Analytics service will spur switch sales. It will be available as a subscription in September with its new line of Catalyst 9000 switches.

Placing a bet on security makes sense. While Cisco saw a slight increase in switching, routing was $2.03 billion, down 2%, due to weakness in mobile packet core in its third quarter fiscal year 2017 earnings.

However, security during this period was up 9% year over year to $527 million with strong performance in unified threat management. Cisco noted about 50% of growth as well as growth of over 30% in both advanced threat and web security.

Cisco’s new vision has already gotten the attention of 75 large enterprises and organizations, which are conducting early field trials with these next-generation networking solutions. Some of these companies include Jade University of Applied Sciences, NASA, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Scentsy, UZ Leuven and Wipro.