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The Cisco security directive

By , Network World
June 05, 2012 04:56 PM ET
Chris Young

Network World - Chris Young just celebrated his six-month anniversary as senior vice president of the recently formed Cisco Security Group reporting to Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior. He brings an interesting perspective to the position, hailing as he does from VMware and RSA. Young was senior vice president and general manager for VMware's end user computing solutions and, prior to that, senior vice president for products at RSA. After hearing Cisco CEO John Chambers proclaim in a recent teleconference that we could expect to see Cisco make big strides in security with Young onboard, Network World Editor in Chief John Dix tracked Young down for his vision and plans.

You're the first senior vice president to head the Cisco security team and the company has integrated two existing security groups under you. Tell us about the shifts.

Before I came onboard there was a senior VP of networking and he owned a lot of our wireless networking, our routing business, and security was part of that grouping of products. And last fall Cisco decided to elevate security to a SVP role and brought me in. Cisco has many businesses today, we're not only routing and switching. We have a data center business, we have a large collaboration business, and security needs to be more pervasive across everything we're doing.

But there is also a vertical element as well, so the question is how much do we embed versus how much do we offer as a stand-alone product? We place a lot of value on integrated architectures as a way to bring value to customers as opposed to a laundry list of products, so my role is building the security value proposition in as integrated a fashion as possible. It doesn't mean that we won't sell stand-alone security products. We have to do that, but strategically we'll be focusing on delivering a better-integrated security capability.

How much reorganization will you have to do to achieve that?

The good news is there were already a number of efforts underway to build security capabilities into other parts of the infrastructure, but there's work that needs to be done. I need to beef up investment in certain areas, such as security baseline architectures, across everything we do. The baselines will be the foundational building blocks for some of the more interesting integrations we'll do, like the firewall integrated into the switch or firewall integrated into the routing platform, or Web gateways integrated into the routing platform. And then moving up the layers of the network to offer more Layer 4 through 7 services.

So, for example, we just announced something we call our ASA CX, which is our context-aware firewall, so ...

As part of the SecureX architecture announced last year?

It's the second proof point of SecureX architecture. The first one would have been our Identity Services Engine, which provides access control based on user identity, location, device posture, etc., allowing for secure access to network infrastructure. The Identity Services Engine has been one of the core parts of our overall value proposition around wireless access and addressing BYOD needs, and we rolled that out last year.

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