I’ve been fortunate to be part of a few great teams and products. Among the most consequential is Secure Firewall Threat Defense 7.0, announced today at the RSA Conference. We’ve increased throughput by up to 30%—across enabled AVC, IPS, and VPN services—for the majority of Cisco Secure Firewalls. And those massive performance gains are simply the beginning of the story.

Today, we’re also announcing a new way forward: NetWORK security. It’s our vision for simplifying network, workload, and multicloud protection, by:

  • Translating intent into action Security is too complicated. Complexity introduces misconfigurations and increases risk. Imagine simplified security, where you describe your high-level security objectives in simple language, and then receive automated recommendations to secure your networks, clouds, and workloads.
  • Bringing back visibility. Envision once again having the visibility you enjoyed when your environments were more easily monitored. Visibility is essential, both when you’re inspecting traffic, and when you’re not.
  • Taking a platform approach to security. Imagine your security tooling, and teams, integrated. We’re focused on key customer outcomes, like rapid remediation, coordinating NetOps, SecOps, and ITOps firewall security activities, and lower costs.

When we surveyed nearly 500 security pros, from organizations with over $250 million in revenue, 73% said they lacked actionable insight in their application environments. We’ve responded, delivering on our NetWORK vision. Only Cisco empowers NetOps security to start running at DevOps speed, by:

Translating Intent Into Action 

  • Introducing real-time, unified, workload and network security. We now enable integrated control at the workload and the network. That’s control across dynamic application environments (East-West traffic) and ingress and egress points (North-South traffic). Comprehensive visibility and awareness of changes in your application communications drive automated firewall policy recommendations.Unlike other firewall providers, only Cisco has integrated firewall and microsegmentation capability. It’s our first proof-point for translating intent into action. With the new integration, Secure Workload dynamically informs Secure Firewall of recommended changes. Cisco provides comprehensive visibility and control, no matter where your applications are running.
  • Announcing the new Cisco Secure Firewall Cloud Native. It’s purpose-built for Kubernetes environments, developer-friendly, and the most elastic firewall we’ve ever built. Available first in AWS, Secure Firewall Cloud Native leverages Kubernetes for orchestration, auto-scaling, auto-healing, and real-time responsiveness to capacity changes. Also, it dynamically scales with your throughput requirements.
  • Presenting dynamic attributes with Threat Defense 7.0, enabling robust policies in environments where fixed IP addresses don’t exist. For years, Cisco has been a pioneer in tag-based policies with our firewall support of Security Group Tags (SGTs) and other Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) attributes. Now, with the dynamic attribute connector, we also leverage Azure, VMware, and AWS tags.

Bringing Back Visibility 

  • The new Snort 3 IPS. With Threat Defense 7.0, Snort 3 is now available with Cisco Secure Firewall Management Center. The new human-readable rules simplify your IPS. Snort 3’s new architecture lets you maintain performance while running more rules, improving your threat defense. Also, new HTTP/2 support expands Snort 3 visibility. And new automated rule migration streamlines upgrades for existing firewall and dedicated IPS users. Additionally, you’ll find Snort 3 in Cisco Meraki MX and SASE Umbrella cloud delivered firewall, also announced today.
  • Plus, visibility when you’re not decrypting. Unlike what competing firewall vendors suggest, we know it’s not realistic that you’ll decrypt and inspect every flow. Competing firewalls break your Layer 7 policies with encrypted TLS 1.3 traffic. In contrast, our differentiated TLS Server Identity & Discovery feature enables you to maintain Layer 7 policies on encrypted TLS 1.3 traffic. Threat Defense 7.0 takes this Cisco advantage with encrypted traffic further, supporting on-prem and cloud-based Cisco Security Analytics and Logging (SAL), with advanced threat analytics on logs. SAL also meets your compliance needs, with log aggregation across all Cisco Secure Firewalls.

Our Platform Approach

  • Cisco SecureX is an included entitlement with every Cisco Secure Firewall, and the integration just got better. Secure Firewall now includes the SecureX Ribbon in Firewall Management Center, enabling the SecOps team to pivot instantly from an event seen in the firewall and the SecureX platform that correlates threats across the Cisco Secure portfolio.

Furthermore, we have new Cisco Secure Remote Worker advancements. Available today in the U.S., with global roll-out to quickly follow, Secure Managed Remote Access is Cisco-managed and relieves your team of day-to-day remote access support, so they can focus their time on your organization’s most strategic tasks. And, if you want to keep VPN management in-house, Threat Defense 7.0 features enhanced VPN capabilitiesfor many remote access use cases, building upon our experience as the global remote access leader.

It’s a new day for network security. We hope that you are delighted with what we’re doing to address some of your most pressing firewall security challenges. We’re grateful to each and every customer that has provided invaluable feedback and informed our vision and new release. And, if you’ll pardon a personal note, my deepest thanks to our global team, across Engineering, Customer Experience, Product, and Sales, for your courage and excellence in challenging times. Your craftsmanship will be readily apparent to our customers.

Additional Resources

Check out: Cisco Secure Firewall

For more information: Cisco NetWORK Security

To learn more: Cisco Secure Workload

Cisco Secure Firewall Cloud Native

Cisco Umbrella cloud delivered firewall


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Chandrodaya Prasad

VP of Network and Application Security Product Management

Network, Cloud and Workload Security