The Network Hub

Aug 30 2010   3:01PM GMT

Cisco security strategy: some nuggets from my notebook

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

Last week I published a feature that took a long, hard look at Cisco’s network security strategy. This story tackled a big subject so naturally I left out a few odds and ends and a little analysis. I thought I’d drop them here for your reading pleasure.

  • Who owns the security strategy at Cisco? When I was reporting this story, a few of the people I interviewed wondered aloud about who actually runs the show for Cisco’s security strategy these days. In case you were wondering, Tom Gillis, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Security Technology Business Unit, runs the show. Gillis was one of the founders of IronPort Systems, the email and web security company that Cisco bought three years ago. He was serving as senior vice president of marketing at IronPort at the time of the acquisition.
  • Speaking of which, this Q&A with Gillis on Cisco’s web site is was referred to me by at least four different Cisco PR and marketing people as the most recent articulation of Cisco’s security strategy. So if you want to hear straight from them what they’re vision is, go there.
  • Fred Kost, director of security solutions marketing at Cisco, told me Gillis owns most of Cisco’s security strategy, however security is a big area that touches on a number of different business units. Kost said several other senior VPs and GMs at Cisco work with Gillis to coordinate the security elements of their products with Cisco’s overall security strategy.
  • I’ve heard many networking pros and consultants talk abut how Cisco seems to have two competing approaches to network access control, causing some confusion in the network. It has an appliance-based NAC product from its acquisition of Perfigo and it has an infrastructure-based product developed from within its routing and switching business. Kost said Cisco has been converging these two products in recent months under one brand: TrustSec. Ultimately Cisco’s NAC approach will become more closely tied to network infrastructure. Kost said NAC is a growing market for Cisco, but the standalone NAC appliance market hasn’t caught on.

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