Infosecurity Europe: Cisco makes first steps into cloud-based security after ScanSafe acquisition

Last year saw some high profile acquisitions with major corporations moving into the security market.

One such example was Cisco's acquisition of ScanSafe, initially announced in September and confirmed in December. The move was expected to see Cisco take a much stronger position in the cloud and look to harness ScanSafe's real-time URL filtering capabilities.

Taking its first steps into the new venture this week, Cisco exhibited at the Infosecurity Europe exhibition, and used it to roll out new products – the always-on, cloud-based IronPort Email Data Loss Prevention and Encryption and Cisco ScanSafe Web Intelligence Reporting.

I asked Cisco product manager Amanda Holden if there were plans to phase out the ScanSafe brand or keep it alive as a ‘ScanSafe by Cisco'. She said that it was an option for the future.

She also explained ScanSafe chairman Eldar Tuvey was still in charge of the ScanSafe part of Cisco, with both him and Roy Tuvey still in the office on a day-to-day basis.

Stephen Dane, director of operations sales, who was one of the ScanSafe staff to become part of Cisco, said: “The message was clear to people on what would happen. There was good press in the UK as it was a British company being taken over by a global company. “We are now working with more people in a big company.” he said.

Holden, commenting from a Cisco perspective, said that it was ‘a big step for us and a major acquisition'.

Moving on to the new products, Cisco announced solutions around cloud protection and its secure borderless network architecture, with the introduction of enhancements to its cloud security platform.

The email data loss prevention solution allows Cisco to utilise its cloud security services to help protect outbound email in the cloud. It said that this provides customers with hosted mailboxes and the advantage of regulating compliance and acceptable-use policies. Included are more than 100 predefined policies related to global compliance, regulatory compliance, regional laws, intellectual property protection and acceptable use policies. It also provides integrated encryption as a remediation option.

Swastik Bihani, product manager of the IronPort team, explained that the initial move was into email protection, and there would be a move into web protection into the future. He said: “This is cloud movement on security proposition, and from a security perspective it is DLP and deeply integrated email infrastructure.

“It gives flexibility with no infrastructure on premises but it can do DLP, it will be integrated so the customer has control. Vendors don't have a solution but we are happy about that, our DLP is on email only and in the long term goal we will do web scanning.”

Dane said that the DLP factor will look at the code and determine what it is doing, and it can track zero-day threats. He said: “It is a combination of two readers talking and making sure they are doing things effectively and efficiently.” Bihani concurred, claiming that it was harnessing power from different elements.

Also launched was Cisco ScanSafe Web Intelligence Reporting, known by a shortened name of ‘WIRe'. Cisco explained that this is a business intelligence platform developed by ScanSafe, that gives enterprises insight into how their web resources are being used and focuses on ensuring that business-critical applications are not being affected by non-business-related traffic.

It said that its benefit is, by clearly seeing the types of traffic coming into and exiting the network enterprises can have a high degree of confidence that their corporate information is highly secure and that all malware and inappropriate content has been blocked.

Bihani claimed that the future of technology such as this is policies based on filtering, while Dane said: “Most companies don't know best practise on policy, this can drill down into the data and get a better insight into the reports.”

Holden commented that when it comes to reporting SaaS vendors  ‘are not known for the best options but this gives so many options so can target and see what bandwidth is being used'.

So what of the future? Bihani said that the company has a lot of strength to go to the service provider and access SMBs, to which Dane commented that the SMB is a good example of a target market for Cisco. He said: “SaaS and SMB go hand in hand but they have got a greater reach in the cloud, and we see that as a big growth area.

“We are also looking to develop relationships with the service provider as we build up services and we can manage a lot of services.”

With a stand located at the front of the exhibition in Earls Court, it is clear that Cisco is targeting the security market with a clear direction, and with a potential DLP web-scanning tool for the cloud in the future, this may be a name that will become even more recognised in the next 12 months.

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