Security solutions often need to walk a very fine line. On one side, they must provide visibility and the capability of enforcing policy. On the other side, they cannot be so complex to administer, maintain and configure that they are not adopted or are set up in ways that are confusing or low value. At Cisco, we’ve intentionally designed, developed and acquired security solutions to be high value without being overly complex.

Complexity is the worst enemy of security, and our systems are getting more complex all the time.”
Bruce Schneier, author, Data and Goliath

Security administrators are already overwhelmed with the sheer number of tools that they have. Organizations are moving to vendor consolidation, but still deploy many tools. The Cisco 2019 CISO Benchmark Study reports that 79% of those surveyed claimed it was “somewhat or very challenging to orchestrate alerts from multiple vendor products.” [1]

Figure 1. The Security Effectiveness Gap

The adoption of multiple security solutions with incremental new capabilities but high degrees of complexity results in the security effectiveness gap. Organizations invest great amounts of time, money and effort for only marginal benefits. If a tool is difficult to install and only provides a small number of benefits, these investments can be costly.

Figure 2. Incremental Complexity with Exponential Banefits

Alternatively, solutions should be simple to deploy but offer expanded capabilities. The goal is for incremental complexity and exponential benefits. To this end, Cisco has made substantial investments in security solutions that organizations can deploy easily. Two examples of this are Umbrella and Duo.

Cisco Umbrella offers flexible, cloud-delivered security. It combines multiple security functions into one solution, so security teams can extend protection to devices, remote users, and distributed locations anywhere.

Duo is designed to verify the identity of all users with effective, strong authentication (two-factor authentication) before granting access to corporate applications and resources. It provides visibility into every device used to gain access to corporate applications, whether that device is corporate managed or not.

Both Umbrella and Duo can be deployed in minutes and provide visibility and protection for remote users, whether they are leveraging a VPN or not. The goal is to keep security simple while organizations and administrators handle a previously never seen set of challenges.

To help overcome these challenges, Cisco has enabled our trusted partners to manage these trials for customers around the world. Partners have tools in place to help customers initiate these trials, to extend them when necessary, and to help seamlessly move from trials to production. These skills and tools provide smooth management and transition, allowing customer administrators to focus on keeping the business running and productive.

The increase in work from home initiatives introduces some issues for administrators. Ensuring that employees can be productive is its own challenge. Organizations may have to open up corporate networks and assets in ways they never predicted. Cisco’s offerings provide the confidence that this access is granted, without sacrificing the visibility and control needed to secure those devices.


[1] Cisco Systems. (n.d.). Ciso Benchmark Survey. doi