Cisco, CDW Execs: Tech Consolidation Spurs Cybersecurity Platform Opportunity

‘Probably the number one thing we’re seeing right now is a request for technology rationalization… It’s creating, I think, a great opportunity for the [security] platform play,’ says Cisco Partner CDW.


Cisco Channel Chief Oliver Tuszik

Businesses are pairing down their IT environments to prioritize key vendors in an effort to battle unnecessary complexity and work with the resources they have. Cisco System’s aggressive cybersecurity platform push lines up with the tech consolidation trend that partners are seeing in the market, according to Cisco executives.

Macroeconomic pressures are causing customers to scrutinize their tech investments a little more closely, said Stephanie Hagopian, vice president of Physical and Cybersecurity Solutions for Cisco Gold Partner CDW.

“Probably the number one thing we’re seeing right now is a request for technology rationalization,” Hagopian said.

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That includes a consolidation of security tools, she added.

“[Customers] are taking a little longer to evaluate solutions [and] really asking us to help them from the tech rationalization perspective,” she said. “It’s creating, I think, a great opportunity for the [security] platform play.”

[Related: Cisco Execs: ‘We’ve Invested $100 Million In Our Partners Around Security’]

Small businesses typically run up to six different tools to manage their security environments. Their enterprise counterparts run more than 50 different tools from at least 20 different vendors, said Cisco Channel Chief Oliver Tuszik.

“For me, it’s still a shocking surprise that most of our customers have a huge amount of different security tools … that’s one of the key security complexity drivers,” he said.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco’s recent Security Readiness Survey found that 15 percent of organizations globally are at a “mature” level of being prepared for a cyber incident. That leaves 85 of all other organizations not prepared what is happening in the market, Tuszik said. The findings illustrate why deploying best-of-breed, point security products, isn’t working, he added.

“That is why our partner ecosystem, together with Cisco, is in such an important role right now. What customers are looking for is less about the best security solutions any longer. It’s about bringing an end-to-end coverage model that helps them to manage the complexity,” he said.

CDW is seeing its clients lean more towards their familiar vendors, Hagopian said. “[They are looking at] the solutions that they already have a footprint with and where they can just kind of organically expand on those footprints, rather than reinvent the wheel and find the best of breed, point solution, because that just adds to the complexity,” she said.

Cisco’s research found that about 75 percent of organizations are pursuing some level of security vendor consolidation, said Emma Carpenter, global security sales leader for Cisco.

“There are hundreds, if not multiple hundreds of security vendors that provide that niche, point solution out there. But who ties it all together [from] managing the SOC and out into the network environment? That’s Cisco,” she said.

The longtime networking market leader wants to be known for its cybersecurity chops in the eyes of partners and end customers, too. But to that end, Cisco has had to revamp and consolidation down its security business unit, internal processes and investment plans to make the shift.

The Cisco Security Cloud platform, introduced in June 2022, is the company’s unified, open-standards-based platform for security across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Cisco has been working on the platform for the last year and incorporating its point security products into the platform while also expanding its security portfolio via acquisitions, including cloud security player Lightspin, which Cisco revealed plans to acquire in March.

Cisco has also consolidated its security specialist teams to make it easier for partners to work with Cisco and understand the portfolio, according to Carpenter. The company a few months ago had 12 different specialist teams for security alone for about 400 different product sets. Carpenter and her team have boiled that down to one team in Cisco’s three geographies.

“We’re simplifying our sales teams first, we’re simplifying our approach to how we bring a number of these solutions together and we will be continuing to do that as we move forward and as we look to ensure it’s much easier for our customers and partners,” Carpenter told CRN.