Security

Cisco amps up network security with new cloud system and machine learning software

At the 2016 Cisco Live event, the company announced new products to address network threats faster and help users more easily pinpoint advanced threats.

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins at Cisco Live 2016.
Image: Cisco

At the 2016 Cisco Live event on Monday, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins announced a new cloud policy management system and software to provide better network security for enterprise customers.

The Cisco Defense Orchestrator is a cloud-based portal that connects on-ground infrastructure and pulls it into the cloud. The Defense Orchestrator allows for security policy analysis, policy orchestration and automation, as well as monitoring and reporting to simplify policy management from the cloud.

"We've got this deployed with early customers. We find customers have different policies across their entire network," Robbins said. The Orchestrator, however, will give them consistent security management from the cloud and allow users to react to emerging threats faster.

"When you see a critical threat, you need to be able to move quickly," Robbins said.

SEE: Cisco's 2016 Security Report: Attacks getting stronger, defender confidence dropping

In the morning's second announcement, Robbins said that Cisco is using advanced machine learning to detect threats. The Cisco Stealthwatch Learning Network License is a simple software upgrade that gives organizations the ability to determine where the most advanced threats are within their network, no matter how deep it goes.

"Perimeter security isn't sufficient any more," Robbins said.

stealth.jpg
Image: Teena Maddox/TechRepublic

The announcements were made to the more than 28,000 attendees at Cisco Live, which is being held at the Mandalay Bay Conference Center and runs through July 14. The company will touch on a variety of topics throughout the week, including IoT, drones, connected cities, and the cloud.

"A year ago I joked technology had moved from the basement to the boardroom. But now technology is fundamentally the strategy of every organization," Robbins said.

Innovation in technology has to start at the top, whether it's a CEO of a company, a mayor of a city, or the prime minister of a country, Robbins said.

"We hit an inflection point in 2015," Robbins said. "We moved through this time where we were discussing what it was, what is IoT, IoE, digitization, what is it. We've moved to a place now where every organization is trying to understand what does it mean to me, what does it mean to us, and what should we be doing in the context of all the technology that is available."

Robbins also talked about Cisco's push to acquire companies, mentioning that Cisco has already acquired more than 190 companies, and 15 of those have happened since he became CEO in May 2015. Recent acquisitions include Jasper Technologies.

"Jasper is the largest commercially-available IoT platform in the world. There are currently 31 million devices connected to Jasper. That's a good start. We're adding a million a month right now. As an example, there are 8 million connected vehicles on the Jasper platform today. This is a really important acquisition for us," Robbins said.

After an acquisition, knowing when to integrate it quickly, or keeping it separate is key. With the acquisition of Lancope, they quickly integrated it in order to hone Lancope's Stealthwatch product into the one that Cisco announced today.

"Our acquisition strategy is core. It's core to our overall innovation strategy," Robbins said.

Innovation will likely continue at Cisco, with the company spending $6 billion annually on R&D, and with $2.2 billion invested in startups around the globe, he said.

SEE: Apple's Cisco partnership highlights enterprise app master plan (ZDNet)

Last August, Apple and Cisco announced a strategic partnership for iOS enterprise users. At the keynote, Robbins said he's often asked what happened to that deal and for its status. He said, "Well, we went to work. We're almost ready to launch."

Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared in a video at the keynote, and mentioned the Cisco partnership, but didn't give specifics on the partnership, other than mentioning Cisco's new Spark app and how it will integrate with the iPhone and iOS 10.

As reported in ZDNet, Cisco's third quarter earnings were better than expected, with fiscal third quarter earnings of $2.3 billion, or 46 cents a share, on revenue of $12 billion. Although, that's down from $12.1 billion during the same period the previous year. Excluding the company's divested video business, sales were up 3%. Non-GAAP earnings were 57 cents a share, two cents ahead of expectations.

Also see

About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox