Cisco's Next Borderless Networks Update Focused On Security, Video


Cisco on Tuesday debuted new network security, management and video products for its Borderless Networks portfolio, many of which look to address new enterprise challenges related to mobility and the "any device" trend. It's the fourth comprehensive product update to Borderless Networks since Cisco introduced the concept -- a.k.a. connectivity for any device, any time, anywhere -- in late 2009.

The new announcements include the Cisco Identity Services Engine, a policy management tool for Cisco's TrustSec network security platform. The ISE, according to Cisco, can provide context-aware security, distinguishing between business and personal-use devices on the network, and automating security with more granular access policies and encryption. In addition, the ISE can integrate with Cisco's network management system, Prime.

Maciej Kranz, vice president of Borderless Networks for Cisco, said the granular security requirements were added to Cisco Borderless Networks products in response to partner feedback. The explosion of interest in smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices in the enterprise requires different security approaches, he argued, and the ability to get more specific and sophisticated with assigning policy.

"Say you're a doctor and accessing patient records from an iPad, but you are accessing the network from a coffee shop," Kranz said. "In that instance, I can not allow you to get access to those patient records unless you meet a set-up policy. That's enforced throughout the network."

More assistance for that kind of conversation with customers, Kranz said, is something partners sought from Cisco.

"They've been asking us for a long time, 'I would like to be selling the architecture at a C-level, rather than just configuring and deploying network elements," Kranz said. "This gets at the care-abouts from the CIO organization. And by leading with policy, [the partner] can start heading into the discussions around security and network capabilities."

Enterprises need to get that granular, Kranz said, because the proliferation of mobile devices are making simpler security policy harder to enforce.

"One size doesn't fit all," he added.

In addition to the security-flavored additions announced Tuesday, Cisco's Prime for Enterprise has been bulked up to include converged user and access management for wired and wireless networks, media diagnostics and business intelligence for use on Cisco TelePresence sessions, and integrated workflow management for use with Cisco services like TrustSec, EnergyWise and MediaNet.

MediaNet itself has a few new bells and whistles: Media Services Interface and AutoConfiguration, which adds network intelligence on various Cisco video endpoints; Media Monitoring on Cisco's integrated services routers (ISR) and Catalyst switches; ISR G2 integrated video conferencing, for video quality optimization in branch offices running video on a WAN; and MediaNet Readiness Assessment Service, a framework for testing customers' network infrastructure for how well it can support video and rich media.

Cisco will be rolling out the portfolio additions over the next 30 to 60 days, and has begun training on the new products and services for partners.

Now that Cisco has also changed its certification requirements to reflect architecture selling, including Borderless Networks, watch for Cisco to even more frequently add additional products, services and training to Borderless Networks over the next year, Kranz said.

"We want to build out the architecture-selling motion," he said. "That's exciting as we move from the vision to the execution."