Cisco ups security ante

Cisco ups security ante

Cisco is waking up to new opportunities in the security game and is considering plans to bring resellers along for the ride.

The company is moving to completely integrate firewall, policy management and other security functions into its routers as part of a strategy to ease end-user security worries.

Christopher Blask, firewall product line manager, explained part of Cisco's security plan is to make security solutions easier to install as part of a total networking package.

"Common security technologies have commoditised to a certain point," he said.

But the move is not simply about touchy-feely customer interaction - it has a sound business case.

David King Jr, a senior Cisco marketing manager, said Cisco believes its customers are more likely to trust the vendor to provide a total networking solution if they learn to trust its embedded security offerings. "Customers are looking to feel comfortable," King said.

Stuart Philips, Cisco's secure Internet service product manager, stopped short of revealing any sales targets, but believes happy security customers who decide to buy additional networking equipment will have a "startling" impact on Cisco's overall revenue.

Another element to Cisco's plan is that multinational resellers will play a vital link in rolling out security solutions across global networks.

As a result, Cisco has rolled out its Security Specialisation Partners Program across the US and Europe, with a commitment to a further "global rollout".

Australian officials confirmed they were reviewing the program here.

The aim is to train and equip its resellers with the skills to integrate its security offerings into new and existing customer sites.

Meanwhile, Cisco concedes its embedded security strategy will impact the niche firewall and security hardware market.

"Embedded security can have a significant impact on the firewall market," said King.

Peter Sandilands, Check Point's Australian and New Zealand regional manager, agreed that Cisco will impact smaller security product providers, but said end users are the ultimate winners.

"It can only be good for the industry to have better security features [built into networking hardware]," he said.

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