Yesterday (6th June 2023) was the first day of Cisco Live which was hosted in Las Vegas.
CEO Chuck Robbins hosted the keynote, along with a host of product leads and Cisco executives who ran through their huge list of updates. The core focus for Cisco and the announcements made, were focussed on security, networking, cloud, AI, and sustainability. Some of the key announcements were:
- Updates to their Full Stack Observability Platform (FSO), a cloud-based service that provides comprehensive visibility and insights into applications and networks.
- Cisco Cloud Application Security, a new feature of their FSO ⬆️ that monitors and protects cloud applications from threats.
- Cisco Networking Cloud, a unified cloud network management platform that simplifies connectivity and security across devices and networks.
- Cisco Secure Access, a single sign-on solution that enables users to access any application from any device or network.
- Cisco Multicloud Defense, a platform that unifies security controls across clouds and applications, with support for multiple firewalls.
- Cisco Secure Firewall 4200, a new, faster, and more reliable firewall that works with their Multicloud Defense service
- Cisco SOC Assistant, an AI-powered tool that helps security teams detect and respond to incidents, with optimized remediation tactics.
Cisco Key Themes
Chuck Robbins highlighted, Cisco’s five key themes going forward as:
- Reimagine your applications.
- Power your hybrid work.
- Transform your infrastructure.
- Secure your enterprise.
- Your journey to sustainability.
Reimagine your applications
The first main product announcement was that of the general availability of Cisco’s Full Stack Observability (FSO) Platform which has been in preview for a few months.
The focus and need for FSO was positioned as the fact that “Every business is a digital business“. She discussed how that while having the right applications is critical to getting work done, they also need to work efficiently for people to be productive, wherever they work. Liz Centoni pointed out that the magnitude of apps used by businesses can “lead to an avalanche of data and insights that can be overwhelming, meaning delays in functions such as threat detection“.
Origibally announced last year, but now available to all, FSO is designed to let organisations gain insights and analytics almost any data source, helping reduce the number of monitoring tools needed, speed up support efforts and keep users online and productive. One of the key use cases for FSO is that in customer digital experience monitoring, whereby Cisco are able to measure predict and monitor the end-to-end user experience across various parts of a customer journey (for example, during an online e-commerce experience).
Joining FSO to Security, Cisco also announced that a new product – Cisco Cloud Application Security, is also coming FSO, which will bring a new layer of security insights into FSO to help understand, see, and act on threats affecting the organisation.
Power your Hybrid Work
The focus on this topic was really blended into Security and FSO which I cover later. There was not much talk about collaboration tools like Webex, though they did say that Webex was remains as a key part of Cisco’s collaboration strategy, which is now able to work seamlessly with Microsoft Teams with their support for Cisco Powered Teams Rooms. Cisco revealed how global organisations like Audi, Carhartt, and MGM Resorts International are using the end-to-end Cisco stack to enable hybrid work and improve productivity.
Journey to Sustainability
Sustainability was a key focus for Cisco, and they publicised a few key initiatives and some major pledges and initiatives to help both Cisco and their customers get greener, recycle more, and ensure sustainability manufacturer, supply chain and lifecycle management. “If you take our technology and put our ecosystem along it, it can help the transition to a modern and low-carbon economy” was a statement given by Cisco Chief Strategy Officer Liz Centoni.
Transform your Infrastructure
Jonathan Davidson, EVP and General Manager of Cisco Networking, announced the launch of Cisco Networking Cloud, a simplified, single cloud network management platform that aims to make cloud networking easier and more secure for organisations. During the announcement he said that Cisco Networking Cloud will provide
- Unified experiences across technologies, applications, and networks
- Radical simplification through platform consolidation
- Cloud-first management with enhanced security and visibility
- A simpler design experience with consistent interfaces
Cisco’s claim and message around Cisco Networking Cloud was “If it’s connected – it’s now protected“, and the key focus was about simplicity, with their vision being to bring unified visibility and management covering all an organisations’ technologies, applications, and networks. Cisco said that today, in the most, such unified experiences are being inhibited by operational complexity, but that Cisco is leading the fightback with what he called, “radical simplification“.
Secure your Enterprise
Liz Centoni said, in her presentation that “When it comes to security, we want to frustrate attackers, not users…..giving users safe and easy access to their apps and data“.
Security was the biggest talking point for at the keynote this year and was the topic for the last part of the presentation. The session was led Jeetu Patel, Cisco’s EVP and General Manager of Security & Collaboration. During this part of the keynote, he talked about Cisco’s vision and solutions for network, cloud, and application security. Some of the key points he shared were around how security services needs proper coordination and management to avoid discord and inefficiency – comparing them to an orchestra where everything needs to work in harmony to avoid just being lots of different noises.
Cisco also spoke about the issues and complexities that the traditional patchwork approach of the security has in most organisations and that these point products and solutions typically creates silos and complexity for customers as well increased cost and often areas of little or no protection.
This was used as a hook into announcing Cisco Security Cloud, which is an open, integrated security platform for multi-cloud environments that leverages generative AI capabilities to optimise performance and security of every connection.
Cisco shared how they now observe over four hundred billion security events every day, which provides them intelligence and trends and insights into the threats facing businesses. Cisco talked about the importance of AI within their products sets, which cuts around one hundred billion hours of work in threat detection and mitigation across their customer base.
Cisco emphasised the need for organisations to adopt zero trust and zero friction security, whereby users can connect to any application, from any device, or any network, without compromising on security or having a clunky and difficult user experience. Cisco talked about their Cisco Secure Access, solution – a single sign-on offering that is claimed to “enable seamless connectivity”. Linked to this was Apple iCloud Private Relay an integration with Apple devices and iOS that provides secure access to an organisation’s apps and services with the need to download anything extra on their iOS device. The words “Cisco makes security simple and magical for users” was one of my favourite quotes of the day!
Finally, Cisco talked about the integration of Cisco Secure Access and Thousand Eyes (which is their cloud-based network intelligence platform that provides visibility and insights SaaS applications network performance and user experience. Jeetus Patel, talked about the challenge of securing private and public clouds, which often have different admin consoles, firewalls, and security controls. Cisco said that that their new Cisco Multicloud Defense platform is a new solution that will provide a translation layer to enable seamless communication and unified security across an organisation’s multi-cloud environments.
Cisco also introduced the new Cisco Secure Firewall 4200, a faster (and more energy efficient) offering that improves redundancy and was built alongside their new Multicloud defense platform as well as Cisco SOC Assistant, an AI-powered tool that helps security teams detect and respond to incidents, with optimized remediation tactics.
Did you attend or tune into Cisco Live? What were you most excited about?