Cisco Launches Security Services Division

New consulting, product implementation and support, and managed services division reflects industry push to provide broader information security services to customers.

Mathew Schwartz

September 10, 2013

2 Min Read
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Cisco Tuesday announced that it's launched a new Services Security Practice, led by information security industry veteran Bryan Palma. The practice will comprise three different services: consulting, product implementation and support, as well as a managed services program aimed at enterprises and government agencies.

Palma, who last week joined Cisco as vice president of advanced services, previously led the cyber and security solutions group at Boeing. Prior to that -- among other jobs -- he was the global chief information security officer for PepsiCo. In the late 1990s he served as a special agent for the Secret Service, where he helped establish the agency's Electronic Crimes Task Forces, which investigate electronic crimes, cyberattacks and intrusions.

Cisco's new Services Security Practice includes some services that the networking equipment and services giantpreviously offered. "Cisco has always been in and around the services business for security, and making sure we've got the scale and capabilities to solve our customers' most difficult security problems," said Palma, speaking by phone.

[ Google's data encryption initiative will slow down, but not stop, government data monitoring. Read NSA Fallout: Google Speeds Data Encryption Plans. ]

The launch of Cisco's new security practice reflects a push by a number of large technology providers, consulting companies and even startup firms to provide their customers with a more big-picture approach to managing their information security environment. In other words, rather than emphasizing point products working in isolation, customers have been demanding -- as befits this era of big data -- that their security products not only work together to make them safer, but also provide them with better information about who's attacking them and whether defenses are holding, and sound alertswhenever the business suffers an intrusion.

"I've been in this business for over 15 years, and for a long time folks would buy products, and that's how they were trying to solve their problems," said Palma. In today's information security environment, however, products alone don't cut it. "Products are still very important," he said, "[but what's required is] that balance of high-quality people and high-quality technology, delivered in a manner that's consumable by a customer and broader reaching than potentially they've seen in the past."

"Like most industries, security has gone through many different evolutions," said Chris Young, senior vice president of the security and government group at Cisco, in a blog post announcing the company's new Services Security Practice. "Over the past 20 years, the industry has been largely product-focused, with customers deploying point products across the network in an effort to 'cover' all security gaps. Over time and with the arrival of mobile, social and cloud, customers now recognize that having all the security products in the world is not going to close all the gaps."

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