The Journey to Secure, Intent-based Networking in a Multicloud World
Earlier this morning, Cisco announced its intent to acquire Duo Security. In and of itself, this acquisition has been several months in the making by an impressive team of professionals who understood exactly what could be accomplished together. For me personally, it marks a strategic milestone on a journey that was started half a decade ago.
I’m excited to welcome the Duo team to Cisco. I’m even more excited about the impact as part of Cisco’s intent-based networking portfolio that Duo is going to make for customers deploying multicloud models.
At first glance, the initial observation for why Cisco is acquiring a unified security access and multi-factor authentication business likely would be to complement our cloud security portfolio. While this assumption is correct, Duo’s relevance within the context of our intent-based networking strategy spans across the entire extended enterprise. It is a highly strategic addition and enables Cisco to deliver what our customers require in today’s multicloud world – the ability to securely connect any user to any application on any network.
I’ve often thought back on when I took over my current role leading Cisco’s Networking and Security Business. People would ask me all the time the reason we combined these groups into a single business. After spending four years running the largest enterprise security business in the world it was very apparent, there was no other alternative — you cannot have a world-class security posture without leveraging the network.
While the technology industry now collectively agrees that the world is multicloud, multicloud is a foundational outcome Cisco’s development strategy has been based on for some time. IT teams are responsible for delivering new revenue and productivity generating digital experiences. They are striving to build these experiences and reach their success metrics — all while struggling to manage the realities of a multicloud environment with advanced persistent threats.
In hindsight, it was clear. We had to shift our thinking and take a different approach. Cisco’s technology strategy had to automate and simplify networking AND it had to make real progress against the security threats our customers face. Our customers needed a new integrated networking and security architecture that was reengineered for these new realities. IP networking has literally changed the very fabric of society and ushered in fundamental business transformation. But it was time for some significant changes to the technology stack. This opportunity is one of the most exciting I’ve seen in my career.
We’ve spent the past several years executing on this very strategy: automating networking domains and building our cloud-delivered security portfolio. The Duo acquisition is another major step forward. It moves Cisco in a new direction — identity and access. It’s a seminal development for IT teams deploying multicloud models — the integration of networking, security and identity all delivered from a cloud-based, frictionless platform.
Cisco’s intent-based networking allows our customers to evolve their infrastructure and support a modern digital enterprise: Software Defined Campus and Access to SD-WAN to the Automated Data Center to the Public Cloud and every other modern cloud model in between.
As we continue progressing along this journey, our vision is becoming more visible. At Cisco, we recognized long ago that multicloud really means multi-domain. In order to deliver the infrastructure that IT needs for digital business, we had to build something different that operates at the intersection of users, devices, applications and data. It had to integrate and automate policy from the Campus and Branch, to the Data Center and out to the cloud. This infrastructure had to deliver the simplicity and security that enabled IT to successfully innovate.
This is the infrastructure Cisco is building.
This is why we combined networking and security into a single business.