How can you take advantage of new network virtualization and security innovations to help accelerate digital transformation in your organization?

As I flew from San Francisco to Berlin, Germany this week to attend our annual CiscoLive Europe (#CLEUR), I turned on my infotainment system to look at the navigation map. It was fascinating to watch my plane inch across the screen. Thinking about the pilot guiding our plane over an ocean where every direction looks exactly the same, I realized how important his navigational tools are. The value of these navigational aids can’t be underestimated, as they are the key to getting to your destination when the path isn’t always clear.

When Cisco launched its Digital Network Architecture a year ago, it provided IT leaders with a blueprint for building a digital ready network that would help accelerate digital transformation in your organizations. In just under 18 months we have seen over 1900 organizations deploy our SDN controller, APIC-EM, in their networks and start laying a foundation capable of enabling their digital transformation. With everything in enterprise networking changing so fast, having a clear vision and plan to build a digital ready network is more important—yet more challenging—than ever.

That’s why I am so bullish about today’s announcement of the Cisco DNA Advisor Program, together with the latest wave of Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) innovations around virtualization and security. With these introductions, we’re helping you create your own unique plans for transforming your network, while providing you with some of the foundational technologies you will need to speed you on your journey.

Demystifying the Path

Let’s start with the DNA Advisor Program. This program, developed in collaboration with IDC Research, allows you to map your network’s journey towards a future state of your design. With IDC, we have built a 5-stage network readiness model across the 5 main digital network categories – architecture, automation, security, service assurance and analytics. For stage 5, we envisage a future state network that continuously and effortlessly aligns to all business needs. That means dynamically adjusting to meet all service level requirements, warding off security attacks and greatly simplifying network lifecycle management.

To learn more about how you can map your journey to a digital-ready network, read Scott Harrell’s blog here. Alternatively, you can just jump straight in and get started by doing your own network readiness self-assessment. This on-line tool and report allows you to compare your own network maturity with your peers, provides guidance on next steps and the potential business benefits of you moving to the next readiness stage. And don’t wait too long to give it a try, because 45% of organizations are already planning to have a digital-ready network within 2 years according to the recent IDC Digital Network Readiness Survey.

Latest Wave of DNA Innovations

But, it’s two different things to plan an ascent to Everest and to actually make the ascent. Likewise with your journey to a digital-ready network. The good news is that at Cisco we are continuing to execute on delivering the DNA technologies and capabilities you will need to make this journey as successful and risk free as possible. In this latest wave of DNA innovations, we are focusing our efforts on the critical DNA pillars of virtualization and security.

After years of virtualization making a huge impact on data center operations, we are seeing major strides forward in network virtualization for the enterprise too. Cisco was first to market with our virtualized solution for the branch, Enterprise NFV, and with the latest Cisco DNA virtualization enhancements we are extending our virtualization capabilities to the campus, colocation centers and public cloud. Organizations can now deploy virtualized network functions like the new virtual firewall, NGFWv, ISRv for SD-WAN, vWAAS for WAN Optimization and many more across a diverse set of places in their network. Digital ready platforms like the new Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS) 5400 series, a purpose built platform for branch virtualization, and the CSP 2100 Series for colocation centers ensure optimal performance for virtual network functions. The end result is much greater flexibility and speed and choice of network consumption model. Learn more about these exciting new DNA virtualization developments in my colleague Allison Park’s blog here.

And then there is security. It’s no surprise that security continues to be the number one concern for network professionals. The latest DNA security innovations showcase Cisco’s security leadership and further enhance the unique ability of the network to act as a sensor to detect threats and an enforcer to block threats. 

First, in the latest 2.2 release of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), security policy management is simplified making it possible to onboard guest users in minutes. ISE 2.2 offers much deeper visibility into applications on endpoints, including detection of anomalous behavior. It also offers more granular control with the ability to define “DEFCON” policy sets that allow customers to escalate their response to prolific threats. Secondly, Cisco TrustSec, delivers the industry’s first end-to-end software-defined segmentation with full visibility from the network edge all the way to the endpoint to the application in the data center or cloud. Speaking of the network edge, Umbrella WLAN is the industry’s first solution to deliver DNS level security to users at the edge of your network directly on the wireless access point. I urge you to learn more about these important DNA security enhancements from my colleague, Kevin Skahill here.

For those of you at CiscoLive in Berlin this week, don’t miss the sessions on Cisco DNA and these new introductions. For those of you that preferred to stay home, you can still catch some of the key sessions by registering virtually here.

As always, I’d love to hear from you on any of these new introductions and also on what else we can do to help you accelerate your network journey.



Prashanth Shenoy

Vice President of Marketing

Enterprise Networking and Mobility