In collaboration with Joseph Bradley

Cisco C-Bridge provides a quicker, more secure network transition for acquired companies.

In order to grow and stay competitive, an enterprise must continue to expand its offerings with innovations that differentiate it from competitors. Increasing intellectual property by acquiring start-ups and other firms is a key to this success. However, robust merger and acquisition activity can lead to unorganized, and potentially unsafe networking practices. To hedge against this, Cisco keeps a stringent, uniform network standard and requires all acquired companies to adhere to our global standards.

When a company is acquired, it can take the Cisco IT team several months to retrofit the legacy network to meet Cisco’s global standards. During this transformation, employees will want to access both the legacy system— the databases, servers, storage, and licensing — as well as the Cisco Data Centers. All of this must be done simultaneously and securely, without disrupting Cisco or the legacy system.

Thankfully, Cisco IT has found a solution to this challenge in C-Bridge 2.0, the latest released internal Cisco IT C-Bridge product that allows for bridging on the acquired firm’s network. The C-Bridge 2.0 box is rolled into the office of the newly acquired company, and, while the legacy system is being transitioned to Cisco’s standards, the acquired company can access both their legacy network and Cisco’s on one connection.

C-bridge 2.0 topology

M&A network consolidation made easy

C-Bridge allows Cisco’s internal IT and InfoSec teams to improve time to access for new employees, maintain a stringent security posture, and reduce the cost of integration for acquisitions.

Using Cisco AnyConnect on C-Bridge 2.0, recently acquired employees can simultaneously access their legacy network and connect to the Cisco network without the need to “swivel chair” between two different VPN solutions. While employees are using C-Bridge to access both networks, Cisco IT engineers can monitor all traffic not only within the data centers but also across the acquired legacy ISP circuits.

C-Bridge 2.0 is now managed on the cloud, which improves the security during acquisitions where the legacy network is only semi-trusted. As soon as C-Bridge is deployed into an acquired company’s office, the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) begins looking inside the network to ensure the acquired network is healthy. When we deploy C-Bridge to newly acquired locations, we scan and review all the data from the acquired network, and implement any security measures we need before continuing the process of merging the two networks. The newest C-Bridge security release also adds badging and cameras, so our teams have visibility and insights into what is happening in the acquired company.

Finally, C-Bridge is economical. Because the acquired company can continue running and functioning during the transition, C-Bridge protects the bottom line of the acquired company and saves both firms money. C-Bridge 2.0 equipment is of lower cost than previous C-Bridge renditions with a smaller physical footprint. C-Bridge also enables the sharing of licenses and applications from within Cisco, thereby immediately reducing software licensing costs.

While C-Bridge is offering exceptional value for Cisco IT during our M&A activities, we foresee additional implementations where it can be used. For example, during Cisco Live conferences, we need a high-speed solution that takes up only a fraction of the size of an office networking room. Our Cisco IT Customer Zero team is piloting C-Bridge at both our internal events as well as Cisco Live, and we are excited about the future for this innovated technology.


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