Cisco doubles down on Internet of Things strategy, introduces IoT Threat Defense

(c) Raisbeck

"This is an amazing year," Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco, proclaimed before the audience at the Cisco Internet of Things World Forum in London this morning. "This is the year where we're talking about how to put this into action. We really did move from great vision slides and talking about what's possible, and we saw more and more examples of how this is happening."

No prizes for guessing the topic of conversation. According to Cisco's own research, only 26% of enterprise IoT initiatives are completed successfully. Yet this doesn't tell the whole story. Of the 74% which weren't described as a success, only 15% were designated as a total failure. 61% of respondents agreed that they had 'barely begun to scratch the surface' of what IoT technologies could do for their business.

This was an underlying theme. The first Cisco IoT jamboree, in Barcelona, was for the 'IoT hardcore', as Inbar Lasser-Raab, vice president enterprise solutions marketing put it. Dubai was around 'let's awaken the possibilities and let's accelerate them'. London was described as 'truly take it to the next level.'

So how does Cisco plan to take it to the next level? How do we overcome the 26%, as Robbins put it? Their strategy is fourfold. First up is gaining C-suite buy in. Obvious maybe, but the Cisco CEO was keen to point out this happens in any establishment, whether it's a company, a city, or a country - Cisco has 16 country-wide digitisation initiatives which comprise more than a third of the global population.

Next up is aligning IT and lines of business. Again, it may be a bit of a hoary old subject - Robbins recalled that LOB has been 'trying to take control of their IT destiny' since at least the mid 1980s - but as technology improves, so the trend goes on with it. "There's always this perception we haven't been moving fast enough," said Robbins. "As IT professionals, or as technology experts, we have to be aligned with what they're trying to achieve and we have to deliver more rapidly than ever."

Add in culture and talent and strategic partnerships, a long-time important aspect not just for Cisco but the companies it acquires, with Jasper as an example, put security along the base, turn the oven on and there you go. In theory. "What we want to do is deliver a secure, intelligent foundation for your digital business," said Robbins.

To that end, on the security side, Cisco announced the introduction of IoT Threat Defense, a product which aims to 'define the characteristics of things' when they appear on the network, and enables users to define a policy and let the network automate it if they so wish.

The product is going to be launched at Cisco Live in Las Vegas later this year, but Cisco gave a glimpse of its potential; the company said it was working with hospitals to segment medical devices for greater security. Robbins added that the company blocks 20 billion threats per day, as well as hiring 250 full time threat researchers.

For the Cisco chief exec, there are five key areas that he and the company thinks about around differentiating and improving on IoT. Number one was the next generation network. "We need a next generation differentiated way of rebuilding networks," he said. "We need networks that are automated, that have security deeply embedded in them and can provide greater insights from the technology investments you're making." Also cited were delivering hybrid cloud enablement, delivering a 'robust' collaboration portfolio, as well as the previous aspects of security and building out an IoT architecture. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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