In a world of increasingly “extreme” sports, I offer the premise that security in a connected world is truly the most extreme team sport of all. Why? Because while it demands a tightly aligned team, often we do not even know who or what is part of our team. In order to reach the goal of security in a connected world, we must focus on third party risk.

Cisco appreciates the importance of our third party ecosystem partners as they participate in the various stages of the lifecycle of our solutions—whether services, software or hardware.  More significantly, as we continue to enhance our Value Chain Security capability, one thing is clear. To effectively drive pervasive security throughout our value chain, a deep and truly collaborative partnership is essential. Partnership built on mutual innovation, flexibility, trust and respect.

Pervasive security, namely the right security in the right way at the right time, can only be achieved if we coordinate meaningfully with our value chain colleagues. Only by collaborating to understand the rich variety of third parties’ business models can we enable security that is embedded in the tools, processes and people of our ecosystem. At first the path may appear opaque, but it can be rendered transparent by intense alignment. The steps to transparency are challenging and must be taken together:

  1. Establish the common set of security threats.
  2. Rally around clear goals that can only be achieved collectively.
  3. Understand the unique business aspects of key third parties.
  4. Openly, and without retribution, reveal challenges.
  5. Share technical security strategies, practical operational practices and successes.

Ultimately, our goal should be to build and sustain together a value chain where information security is:

  • job #1,
  • everyone’s job, and
  • always a priority.

I recently had the privilege of speaking with security leaders from enterprises across Cisco’s value chain.  Leaders at Jabil and Expeditors shared insight on their commitment to driving Pervasive Security with Cisco.

Watching the video reveals how these two Cisco ecosystem partners, members of our “Extreme Team”, collaborate with us to overcome challenges such as:

  • increased global variation in how security is defined, legislated and regulated,
  • attackers leveraging third parties as points of access to true targets, and
  • deploying new technology to serve the pervasive security goal.

An aligned ecosystem is the team to be on to ensure a successful end game: a connected and secure value chain.


Edna Conway

Chief Security Officer

Chief Security Officer, Global Value Chain