Cisco Announces pxGrid For Identity, Device Context Awareness

The company announced the pxGrid context information sharing framework, built within the Cisco Identity Services Engine. The framework enables a broader ecosystem of technology partners to extend policies and other capabilities to devices connecting on the network. The Identity Services Engine enables security policies and third-party providers to reach endpoint devices connected to Cisco routers and switches. The company said it would pursue standardization of pxGrid through industry standards organizations in 2014.

Integrating third-party technology providers is a good move for Cisco because it enables the channel to make more sales around Cisco products, said Cyndi Privett, vice president of research at Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Viewpoint Research. Privett, who attended the recent Cisco partner conference in Boston, said the company has made it clear that it will push the envelope in solving security issues and concerns around cloud computing.

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"Whenever you extend the ecosystem to third-party technology providers, it improves the credibility of the ecosystem, which is great for technology providers," Privett told CRN. "I think Cisco has had a strong security message and good enablement for the channel community in terms of training and tools; their track record is respectable."

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Cisco currently has mobile device management partnerships and is creating the Cisco Security threat Defense Ecosystem for security information and event management vendors. The company has partnerships with IBM, Lancope, LogRhythm, TIBCO LogLogic, Splunk and Symantec. Through ISE, the Cisco Security Threat Defense Ecosystem integrates with SIEM and threat defense systems to create policies and analytics based on not only network patterns but also the type of device and class of user, Cisco said.

It gives IT teams the ability to set policies that revoke or modify network access.

Extending context through pxGrid gives security platforms more insight into security events on the network, Cisco said. Third-party products can also tap into the network to keep better visibility on different types of users applying policy across various systems, the company said.

Feeding data into SIEM systems also speeds the time it takes to quarantine devices or block device access, Cisco said. The integration will be available for customer deployment in July. Cisco partners told CRN last week they are generally happy with the growth they are seeing under the Cisco umbrella. At the company's partner summit in Boston, partners said Cisco growth has been connected to its support of recurring revenue business models.

Last week the company announced it has revamped its Cloud Partner Program to provide incentives behind solution providers starting to offer cloud services to clients.