A Security Makeover Juggernaut

By Ryan Naraine  |  Posted 2005-05-04 Print this article Print

Jensens brave front aside, analysts believe it will be tough for smaller plays to withstand Ciscos security makeover, which included the acquisition of Twingo Systems Inc. and the follow-up purchase of Protego Networks Inc. Lawrence Orans, a senior security analyst at Gartner Research, expects Cisco to leverage its hardware and software reach to increase revenues from its security business.
"Cisco has the channel via the service providers to be successful with this appliance product. There are other vendors out there offering boxes that do multiple functions as well, but Cisco has been traditionally very strong on the distribution side.

"Theyre moving in the right direction but they still have a lot to prove," Orans said in an interview. However, he said large enterprises have also been showing interest in transferring IT security responsibility and operations to MSSPs (Managed Security Service Providers).

Joel Conover, who covers enterprise infrastructure for Current Analysis, said the traditional deployment of security services forces businesses to choose between operational efficiency and holistic security. "The integration of multiple technologies [in Ciscos appliance] solves the problem of multi-device security management," Conover said.

More importantly, he argued that the everything-in-a-box approach makes it operationally and economically feasible to deploy comprehensive security services to more network locations.

Gartners Orans also believes Ciscos security push could trigger further consolidation in the security sector as competitors like Juniper Networks Inc. join the appliance race.

Last year, Juniper shelled out $4 billion to acquire security appliance vendor NetScreen Technologies Inc., a deal that was seen as a direct response to Ciscos move.

Click here to read more about Jupiters acquisition of NetScreen. On the same day Cisco was making its Interop appliance splash, Juniper announced the signing of a joint development deal with Avaya Inc. to resell each others services. While Juniper is Ciscos main rival on the network security side, Avaya goes head-to-head with Cisco in the call center and IP telephony business.

"The focus is on complete converged campus and branch solutions that tightly integrate Avaya business communications applications with Juniper Networks routing and security technology. The combination will foster innovation by two technology leaders, and give customers a clear migration path to intelligent communications," Avaya said in a statement.

Translation: Were not ready to concede anything to Cisco.

So, even as Ciscos metamorphosis into the security business has put the jitters into standalone plays, the companys rivals are partnering to put security capabilities into converged communications products.

Sounds like a good old-fashioned business brawl.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.


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