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Judge for yourself: Taking Dell to task on “holistic” security claims

In case you missed it, Network World’s Ellen Messmer published a rather surprising article on how Dell was going to “trump” Cisco in the information security market as a result of some recent acquisitions. Now certainly Dell is entitled to their beliefs. They’re in a difficult position right now, as Michael Dell and Silver Lake maneuver the company through a very complex set of buy-out related transactions. They need to give their customers assurance that they won’t be distracted through this process. And if you want to set a big impression with your customers, you might as well go after the market leader in security.  Be it as it may, we can’t just sit back and let these blatant statements go unchecked. So, in the spirit of “fair and balanced” reporting, we thought we’d issue our own little fact check and let you conclude for yourself.

  • “Cisco is a great competitor but they don’t have our holistic view” – Acquiring assets and bundling them together doesn’t constitute a “holistic” approach.  Those assets must be closely integrated, which is the approach Cisco is delivering with its next generation security architecture. This architecture will be built on top of a multi-function security platform with deep network integration. There are many proof points today that demonstrate we are delivering against this strategy and architecture. Today our customers are deploying Cloud Web Security with their Cisco ISR G2 and ASA Next Generation Firewall through connectors built from Cloud Web Security. In addition we’ve brought market leading application, visibility and control to ASA, embedded deep in the firewall.  But it doesn’t stop here.
  • Now what about Dell’s comment that Cisco “doesn’t have an identity business“?  Cisco’s Identity Services Engine provides the backbone of Cisco’s secure Unified Access solution. The real network security action is in delivering access privileges based on more than just user identity and group which is all Dell can do today with Quest. In the BYOD world customers also require action based on the type of device, posture of the device, and location. Cisco’s Identity Services Engine is the industry leading platform to deliver context based policy controls and then leveraging the network for distributed enforcement consistently across wired, wireless, and VPN access. This is a game-changer for the enterprise and our next generation end-to-end security architecture. Enterprises can now implement context-based policy from the access layer through the data center switching fabric without using brittle and costly network segmentation methods tied to VLANs and ACLs. This is real synergy, and it is delivering a holistic solution as opposed to a holistic press sound bite.  But don’t just take our word for it; check out Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for NAC.  Cisco’s ISE combines identity, device, and network with a market leading platform deployed in over 3000 customers.
  • Just weeks ago we announced another key milestone with the introduction of ISE 1.2.  With this latest release we also became the first vendor in the industry to offer automated profiling feeds making us better and faster at identifying new devices and operating systems.  We’ve increased the speed and scalability of ISE to address the increasing demands brought on by the “Internet of Everything”.  And we’ve added a new set of partner APIs enabling integration into key MDM partners – SAP, AirWatch, Citrix, Mobile Iron and Good.  This expands the reach of ISE and enables customers to drive common context and identity management from the network all the way to the end point.  Dell talk’s about their direction to advance the “concept” of embedded security to virtually any type of device.  We’re not just talking about it, we’re doing it.

But technology alone is not enough.  Dell has every right to tout its credentials in the server market.  They have a very long and rich history in this space that should be honored. But, that alone doesn’t make you credible in the eyes of the most hardened enterprise whose livelihood depends on protecting their most crucial customer data or hard earned intellectual property. This is an area that Cisco takes very seriously. We too have a very long and rich history. The world has relied on our network for decades – for connecting people, information, and places.  Over 70% of the world’s traffic flows through our networks each day. They not only rely on our technology and architecture for their business, they rely on our world-class global threat intelligence and rapid emergency response to keep them safe.

We analyze over 100 terabytes of threat data every day in Cisco’s Security Intelligence Operations’ (SIO) cloud, and make that information actionable to help protect against the most advanced cyber threats. And with the recent acquisition of Cognitive Security, Cisco has become the only vendor with the tools and capabilities to correlate vast amounts of data from network infrastructure, network security and content security, transforming the network into the platform for remediation.  So it’s time for you to judge, who’s in the best position to deliver on a holistic, architectural strategy?

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1 Comments.


  1. February 25, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Lancope rounds out Cisco’s holistic security approach by integrating real-time host level visibility/analysis with the user and device context that ISE provides.

    In addition to Lancopes unique intergration with ISE, we also do something special with the ASA platform. Correlating flow data from the internal network with intelligence from the ASA provides an additional layer of visibility and security context for detecting advanced threats. While firewalls traditionally export data via Syslog, the ASA provides much richer information and unique data points via the NSEL protocol.

    Lancope and Cisco are delivering advanced, proactive security solutions that offer better, more cost-effective protection both now and for the future. Security analysts gain visibility into advanced cyber threats such as:

    Discover Internally Spreading Malware
    Detect Reconnaissance Activity
    Find Data Loss / Exfiltration
    Identify Botnet & Command / Control Activity

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