‘Simplified’ Cisco Security: Now With SASE, Zero Trust; XDR

The Cisco security portfolio has three new enhancements. The tech giant has also cut the number of product names in half in an effort to simplify the security portfolio for partners and customers.

In keeping with Cisco‘s mission to simplify IT operations and automate processes for partners, the tech giant is reducing the number of product names and expanding capabilities on its major platforms, including SecureX.

Cisco‘s new enhancements include extended detection and response (XDR); zero trust; and secure access services edge (SASE). The tech giant has also reduced the number of product names by 50 percent to align to the SecureX platform strategy of keeping things simple for customers, Gee Rittenhouse, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Security Business Group, told CRN.

“One of the things we‘ve put Cisco partners through is the complexity of the portfolio and all the derivatives of the products,” Rittenhouse said. ”As a result of journey we’ve been on, we’ve been simplifying the brands.”

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The simplification is helping partners get the security solutions up and running in front of customers to prove its value, said Ron Temske, vice president of security and Network for Logicalis, a Cisco Gold partner.

“It‘s reduced the amount of time and effort and shortens the time it takes to show demonstrative results to the end customers, which I can’t stress enough how important that is,” Temske said.

[Related: Cisco To Acquire Security Startup Portshift For Reported $100M]​

Since it became generally available in June, Cisco's cloud-based security platform SecureX, a “security homepage” for many customers and partners, has been adding more than 1,000 customers each month and is helping customers reduce time to detect threats by 95 percent and remediation time by 85 percent. SecureX now offers XDR capabilities, expanded SecureX ribbon capabilities, and analytics capabilities for enhanced insights, Rittenhouse said.

“The SecureX platform is helping customers automate tasks that were very arduous in the past,” Logicalis‘ Temske said.

As part of the new zero trust offering, Cisco is providing a behavioral component to help businesses find deviations from common authentication behavior by end users. The offering, suing machine learning and AI, can then change or add authentication steps automatically on behalf of the customer to ensure stronger security, Rittenhouse said.

The SASE architecture now includes integrations with secure connectivity and Cisco‘s Viptela-powered SD-WAN and Meraki SD-WAN technology to protect branch offices, as well as Secure VPN, formerly Cisco AnyConnect, to protect remote workers, without the need to add another agent. The SASE solution also integrates with SecureX for better visibility and faster response actions, Cisco said.

Rittenhouse said that the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the buying dynamics for customers who are looking for simple security solutions that are easy to adopt. At the same time, partners want the ability to wrap their own services around security, Rittenhouse said.

“We really want these to be enablements for our partners services, because those are generally higher value, higher margin, and higher profitability,” he said. ”We‘ve seen a shift in priorities around certain things we were already going to deliver.”

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco in March extended free licenses and expanded usage counts at no extra charge for three of its security technologies to help strained IT teams and partners ready themselves and their clients for remote work. These offerings continue to translate into paid accounts as customers see the value that Cisco security demonstrates, Rittenhouse said.

While Cisco has always offered free trials of its security offerings, the company extended the license period for free so customers could keep their businesses running as the pandemic hit. “We‘ve certainly converted a lot of those to paying customers, but no one more than conventional free trials,” he said. ”[Free trials] are a big customer engagement for us.”