In August 2023, I authored a blog on Cisco Secure Access, where I discussed the advantages of utilizing a comprehensive, single vendor, Security Service Edge (SSE) packages for both customers and Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs). Since then, Cisco has launched three security-focused suites that address key customer use cases for the user, for the cloud, and for breach protection. In this blog, we’ll explore the Cisco User Protection Suite, specifically, to understand what it enables for the customer, and why it makes business sense for MSSPs to offer a packaged solution around it.

Managed cybersecurity is like prime real estate for the channel

According to the 2023 Cisco Cybersecurity Index Report, organizations are struggling to effectively secure their workforces against a constantly increasing number of threat vectors. In fact, nearly 85% of customers are not adequately prepared to handle cybersecurity threats since they lack the specialization and the skills to manage increasingly complex IT environments. With industry wide technical skills shortages, cost pressures, and IT complexity on the rise, the demand and shift towards managed IT services offerings is expected to continue rising. This is especially true when it comes to managed cybersecurity offerings.

According to a recently published Canalys white paper, overall IT managed services revenue was expected to grow ~12.7% and product spending on cybersecurity was predicted to grow ~11.1% in 2023. In contrast, total IT spending was expected to grow at a lower ~3.5% globally. With 86% of businesses planning to increase their cybersecurity budgets by more than 10% in the next 12 months, MSSPs with managed cybersecurity capabilities/practices are perfectly positioned to reap the rewards of these industry trends.

Customers are looking to MSSPs for guidance and value

With approximately 75% of organizations pursuing security vendor consolidation efforts, it is apparent that customers are looking for simpler, more integrated architectures for their cybersecurity solutions. Cisco Security Suites are a great way to meet those objectives, and are designed to be easy to buy, easy to consume, and easy to use. This ultimately leads to better efficacy, better experiences, and better economics by delivering a security platform that defends against all user attack vectors. Cisco’s approach and platform enables customers with seamless access to business applications with centralized monitoring and policy management, while delivering on desired business outcomes.

The Cisco advantage

The Cisco User Protection Suite offers pervasive end-to-end security for users, endpoints, email, web, and more. It’s a compelling solution that minimizes the attack surface, addresses all attack vectors, and reduces the complexity and risks associated with IT/network access. Quick and easy to deploy, the User Protection Suite also provides all the fundamental components to protect the user, while providing core contents and capabilities for easy and tight integration into an Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solution. This enables teams to leverage unmatched security intelligence provided by Cisco Talos Intelligence Group—the world’s largest commercial security/threat research entity—along with enabling support for achieving enhanced Service Levels (e.g. higher SLAs) by utilizing the highly differentiating Digital Experience Monitoring capabilities provided by ThousandEyes.

The Cisco User Protection Suite combines an already compelling SSE solution with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), enhanced threat protection for email services, and the capability to secure user endpoints such as desktops/laptops, workstations, and/or servers, all in a comprehensive pre-packaged solution. This suite allows you to address all potential threat vectors related to the “user” at a very attractive price point.

The Cisco User Protection Suite equips customers and partners to:

  1. Empower the end-user by facilitating secure, seamless access to applications, email, and data from any device, anywhere.
  2. Reduce risk by safeguarding against all threat vectors targeting the end-user (e.g. credentials, applications, network, and related endpoints).

Cisco User Protection Suite starts with Cisco Secure Access

A comprehensive next-generation SSE platform, Cisco Secure Access supports key network use cases and provides extensive security functions through a unified management dashboard designed with simplicity, efficiency, and efficacy in mind. Secure Access provides best-of-breed security capabilities including:

  • Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) – provides cloud app discovery, application risk scoring, blocking, cloud malware detection, and tenant controls.
  • Secure Web Gateway (SWG) – provides URL filtering, content inspection, and advanced application controls.
  • Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) – provides Layer 3/4/7 firewall functionality with IPS using Snort 3 technology.
  • Remote Access – provides VPN and/or client based Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) for managed endpoints, or clientless ZTNA access for unmanaged endpoints with optional device posture verification (e.g., geolocation, browser type, and/or Operating System type/versions).
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) – provides the ability to define and quarantine files that violate DLP rules, both signature based and exact data match, preventing leakage of sensitive information.

SSE plus Cisco Duo for a complete authentication solution

The Cisco User Protection Suite also includes the full capabilities of Cisco Duo, an industry-leading, access management MFA solution that supports password-less options, SSO, and risk-based assessment. Cisco Duo facilitates seamless integration with various Identity Providers (IdPs) and provides posture management with sophisticated methods for user protection. Furthermore, it enables system/health verification to confirm the integrity of user devices.

Complete email protection with advanced threat detection with Cisco Email Threat Defense

Did you know that about 91% of malicious attacks begin with email? It continues to be the #1 threat vector and remains the easiest way to breach an organization when it comes to malware, ransomware, phishing, spoofing, stolen credentials, and the like. To secure this commonly used attack vector, the User Protection Suite includes extensive security-related enhancements for the email service—a business-critical application—by augmenting the Microsoft 365 email service with Cisco Email Threat Defense. Cisco Email Threat Defense bolsters threat detection and defense capabilities, and provides real-time behavior analytics, file reputation scoring, and sandboxing. This protects the user by stopping malicious emails often before they even reach the user’s Inbox, effectively stopping a typical threat sequence at the beginning of the chain of events.

Effective and resilient Endpoint Protection against threats

Given that roughly 70% of breaches involve endpoints, the inclusion of Cisco Secure Endpoint in the User Protection Suite helps prevent breaches by blocking malware at the point of entry. This allows for rapid detection, containment, and remediation of a broad spectrum of threats at the endpoint. Cisco Secure Endpoint automatically blocks file-less and file-based malware, continuously monitors file activity, and enables the user to quickly contain malicious attacks by isolating the infected endpoint(s) and accelerating remediation efforts.

How do MSSPs benefit by providing the User Protection Suite as a Managed Service offering?

By providing it in a consolidated user-centric package, the suite allows MSSPs to easily:

  1. Offer full SSE capability, enabling the user to have secure, frictionless access to all applications with an impressive set of policy controls.
  2. Add support for SSO functionality via integration with all common Identity Providers (IdPs) such as Microsoft Azure/Active Directory, Okta, as well as various other SAML 2.0 service providers, while providing MFA capability with support for numerous cloud (SaaS) and custom applications.
  3. Protect users from the most common attack vector (email), by offering significantly enhanced malware, phishing, and/or spam protection by strengthening the security of Microsoft 365 / Office 365 / Exchange Online mailboxes.
  4. Include the protection of user endpoints and related devices, securing the user at one of the most common points of entry.

All the capabilities of the User Protection Suite can be sourced from Cisco, and effectively orderable as a single product PID/SKU that addresses all key customer connectivity and security requirements for seamless functionality. Furthermore, the suite approach significantly improves monitoring and management efficiency over multi-vendor and multi-point solution approaches, significantly enhancing visibility and controls, all with substantially LESS complexity since the integration is seamlessly implemented by Cisco. This provides for a better overall user experience, increased customer stickiness, improved profitability, and increased margins—all while addressing key desired customer outcomes and use cases. In fact, all functionality is packaged with a straightforward licensing structure on a per user basis. By leveraging suite-based packaging, MSSPs can obtain up to 53% savings over A-La-Carte sourcing of individual products, while greatly simplifying the procurement, initial set up, integration, manageability, supportability, and renewal of multi-vendor point solutions.

Cisco Partner-Enabled Managed Services offering and benefits

If you are a Cisco partner and would like to find out how to monetize this opportunity, please register for the upcoming Managed Services Voice of the Engineer. In this session, our team from the Americas Partner Organization (APO) will provide an overview of Cisco User Protection Security Suite and how it can be offered as part of a Partner-Enabled Managed Services offering and explore the benefits that can be attained for both Cisco partners and your customers. If you are interested in becoming a Cisco Partner, you can learn more by visiting Cisco’s Partner Program and Cisco Partner-Enabled Managed Services.



Register for the Managed Services Voice of the Engineer session.

Learn more about everything that the Cisco User Protection Suite has to offer.


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Nathaniel Hang

Solutions Architect

Americas Partner Organization