The world is facing a collective challenge with a growing cyber threat landscape. Trends like the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G are expanding the attack surface with over 40 billion devices expected online within five years. A new wave of advanced ransomware may cost our global economy up to $20 billion by the year 2021. Countries and regions alike are struggling to create consistent regulations that protect their citizens and stay ahead of emerging threats. Organizations wanting to go digital are looking around for who they can trust. To deliver security and trust on a global scale in this environment will require more than individual companies operating in silos, it is a multi-party responsibility including both the public and private sector. It will require a new set of diverse talent. It will require new technical capabilities. It will require research to help stay one step ahead. It will require collaboration. Each of these requirements need to be cultivated to get us where we need to be as an industry.

The time to plant the seeds for our collective future is with action – today.

We know the pain of digital transformation. At Cisco, we’ve gone through our own transformation in a highly complex environment. Think many clouds, operating 176,000 networks across the globe, blocking 20 billion threats on the internet a day, not to mention delivering our portfolio of over 600 product lines. The struggle is real. But even if we don’t have all the answers, the silver lining is that this experience has pushed us to learn at every stage of our journey. We see it as our role and responsibility to share our experience with others and are constantly looking for new opportunities to amplify those efforts. After all, cybersecurity is a team sport. As organizations, countries, and regions raise the bar for global cybersecurity…we all reap the benefits. Many are talking about co-innovation, collaboration and partnerships. We need to do more than talk. We need the right tools and the right environment where productive conversations, best practice sharing, and hands-on learning can happen.

That is why we are investing in our first Center of Excellence and Co-Innovation that will focus on cybersecurity and privacy. Opening in Milan in 2020, the center will bring together experts from both the public and private sectors to connect, learn, research and create solutions to help solve some of our most pressing security and privacy challenges. Leveraging our global network of Co-Innovation Centers and Cisco DevNet, a platform with more than 500,000 developers, the center will provide an environment to tackle complex challenges such as securing critical infrastructure (i.e. utilities, smartgrids) as well as evaluating the future complications of technologies like IoT and 5G. To supplement our investment on the future, we are also supporting a number of scholarships for a Master of Science in Cyber Risk Strategy & Governance at two Italian universities.

Cisco works with universities around the world in over a hundred different research projects and programs related to the enhancement of cybersecurity, data protection and privacy. This is in addition to more than 326,000 students worldwide who took cybersecurity courses last fiscal year through Cisco Networking Academy. Through collaboration and education, our goal is for these actions to cultivate future talent and build expertise for the next generation.

I am proud of the long-term commitment Cisco has laid down to help build the next generation of cybersecurity talent and co-innovation. My challenge to each of you is to join us – either physically at one of our programs or philosophically aligned to the spirit of collaboration. Regardless of where you are on your journey. Maybe you are new to cybersecurity. Or you are just starting to take your organization digital. There is a role and place for your contribution. If you have just started, I encourage you to seek out others who have a long history and experience with security and privacy challenges. For those of you who have that proven experience…it is your role to share it. Because the reality is that no one is going to win alone. It’s time for action and to get involved.

To succeed in tackling the world’s most critical and complex cybersecurity challenges we must work together. Join the team.

Want to hear more about Cisco’s cybersecurity journey?

Check out our Trust Center.



Anthony Grieco

SVP & Chief Security & Trust Officer

Security and Trust Organization