Cisco AppDynamics’ ‘App-Driven’ Security Tool Puts Application Performance First

‘The kicker here is, we‘re bringing security to something [app teams] are already using and we’ve made sure the impact is extremely low to the application -- basically, unnoticeable,’ Cisco Security and AppDynamics tells CRN about the new Secure Application add-on to the AppDynamics’ APM license.


AppDynamics, Cisco’s cloud application monitoring business, is unveiling a security product that combines AppDynamics’ application expertise and Cisco’s security know-how to help enterprises defend against attacks, while avoiding application slow-down.

Secure Application is an “application-led” security and application performance monitoring (APM) offering that comes at a time in which millions of employees and students are working and accessing applications from home. The tool can help ensure app security, without sacrificing speed or user experience, Gregg Ostrowski, AppDynamics’ regional CTO, said.

“The user population is demanding these high-performing applications, but security is one of those pieces that has to be included. Data is being distributed all over the place, so you have to think of an app-driven security mindset as a better way of providing threat detection,” Ostrowski said.

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Cisco AppDynamics’ app-focused Secure Application, in collaboration with Cisco Secure, gives customers protection at the run time of the application so that IT teams can monitor and detect for vulnerabilities within the application and immediately act on that information, Ostrowski said.

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The product offers automatic runtime protection for visibility into an application’s behavior, access at the code level to detect dependency and configuration-level security vulnerabilities in production, security details correlated with the application topology, and improved collaboration between application and security teams, according to San Francisco-based AppDynamics.

Security and development teams are still relatively siloed, but Secure Application can help bring those two groups together to understand the context of the application and security issues, said Nils Swart, senior director of product management, Cisco Security.

“The reason this market hasn’t really taken off is because app teams really don’t want to onboard agents or any other technologies that don’t benefit them. The application team is a key constituent because everything you do to an application runs the risk of reducing performance or creating erratic behavior,” Swart said. “The kicker here is, we’re bringing security to something [app teams] are already using and we’ve made sure the impact is extremely low to the application -- basically, unnoticeable.”

AppDynamics has historically been framed around business outcomes. The tool will give security teams the insights they need from a business context so they can prioritize where to troubleshoot and what to fix first, Ostrowski added.

Secure Application offers relevant information in a dashboard view to the right teams and filters out any information that doesn’t matter to the application performance, Swart said. “That really gets us to faster cycle times and solving for vulnerabilities,” he said.

Security and application teams are under more pressure than ever before since many employees are still working from home and are reliant on corporate application access to get their jobs done, Ostrowski said. “You can see a big area where this product would help … As we come out of the pandemic, it’s going to be just as critical because work from home and applications are going to continue to become more prevalent,” he said. “The timing is very right for this to be in the market.”

AppDynamics partners can choose to use the tool to manage application security on behalf of their end customers, or hand off the product to their customers for better visibility into their own environments. “It’s another solution that they can use to go get in front of the problem at hand, and offer an app-centric security model to complete the overall picture,” Ostrowski. It’s a benefit to partners because many solution providers are building practices around APM and AIops, he added.

Secure Application will be sold as an add-on to the AppDynamics’ APM license. The offering is currently accessible through early availability, the company said.

Cisco AppDynamics was named as a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring report for the eight consecutive time.