CFOs, and their technical counterparts, are leading board-room level strategic information security decisions. This isn’t a surprise. A recent Accenture study noted that 75 percent of CFOs are “getting in the driver seat” regarding technology investment decisions.

Flexibility, in regards to both financial and technical considerations, is critical to a successful security strategy.  CFOs are keenly aware that security today is no longer simply a risk mitigation subject. It is also critical for enabling their organizations’ digital transformations and long-term business success.  Without agile, effective security, the new digital-oriented business models that organizations depend on cannot be executed.

What exactly are CFOs facing? Cyber adversaries are often highly-organized – some even have help desks to help you pay for ransomware attack relief. Security is the fastest growing part of most IT budgets, and subject to close scrutiny. As detailed in the Cisco 2016 Midyear Cybersecurity Report, poor security strategy produces ineffective threat defense, a greater risk of unplanned breach remediation expenses, and spiraling IT integration costs. The average Fortune 500 organization works with more than 100 security vendors. These customers universally tell us that this vendor proliferation is unmanageable, wasteful, and ineffective.

Security-savvy CFOs are thus consulting the playbooks they’ve already used to successfully lower capital expense through cloud services. They are working with their colleagues – CIOs, CISOs, and IT directors – to understand how an architectural approach to security, with fewer vendors, improves threat defense while lowering cost. Additionally, they are analyzing if, in their organization, it makes sense to leverage flexible financing arrangements for network security, such as those offered by Cisco Capital. Such arrangements can further reduce capital expenditures and facilitate the latest and greatest security solution and regular adoption of threat defense innovation.

Accompanying strategies for financial flexibility is a comparable emphasis on technical agility. Network security solutions, for instance, must enable rapid security provisioning. Cisco Firepower 4100 Series and Firepower 9300 security platforms, built for high performance environments, data centers, and service providers, work seamlessly with Cisco’s virtualized firewalls. This ensures, regardless of where data is sent, i.e., between physical, virtual, and off-premises cloud environments, that consistent security policy follows workloads, with centralized management. This approach meets compliance and broader organizational threat defense requirements, and steers clear of the type of brittle architecture that is costly and time consuming to re-provision.

Our customers regularly remind us that they must do more with less, and that they have been underserved by piecemeal security solutions. In response, we are delivering a new way forward: tightly integrated, threat-focused, and best-of-breed security solutions addressing the entire attack continuum, before, during, and after attacks. To further enable flexibility and agility, only Cisco enables an organization to start their security journey with a best-in-class portfolio that, over time, can be further leveraged as part of a dynamic security architecture that lowers ongoing cost and complexity. Cisco even empowers organizations that have invested in our switching and routing infrastructure to leverage those investments to further make the network itself a security sensor and enforcer.

Developing an Integrated and Threat-Centric Security Approach

Digital transformation demands that organizations adopt a dynamic, nimble approach to information security, financing and upgrading their security infrastructure to mitigate risk and keep up with the evolving threat landscape. As such, it is crucial to work with vendors equipped to handle the entire spectrum of threats in today’s dynamic threat landscape.

Finance & Lease to Stay Current

Organizations, often for cash flow management reasons, take a short-term approach regarding security software licensing contracts. Financing arrangements can be a prudent way to ensure longer-term security coverage that also avoids large upfront costs. Organizations also maximize licensing discounts by committing to multiple years of coverage, which includes regular security threat intelligence updates and ensures that they have the best security solution at all times.

Another, often under-rated, advantage is matching the payment term to the solution’s useful life which reduces operational hassle for the organization’s procurement teams as annual contract renewals create unnecessary costs for the customer and vendor.

Staying Ahead of the Game

Ultimately, the criminal enterprises that are leading cyber adversaries are growing ever more sophisticated, requiring organizations to stay ahead by upgrading systems and technology. Helping your organization achieve its digital transformation goals can become far less challenging when an effective security architecture and flexible financing come together.


Sanjay Kumar

Senior Director, Global Business Development and Sales Strategy

Cisco Capital