The announcement is a major change in Cisco Security strategy and perspective and, I think, a promising step forward:
From a strategic standpoint, we will focus on a “threat-centric” security model moving forward – meaning that we will put a heavier focus on the threats themselves versus policy or controls. Given the fast-changing threat landscape, an organization’s approach to reducing the time from breach to recovery needs to be integrated, pervasive and continuous, as well as open. Through our threat-centric model, we will provide broad coverage across all potential attack vectors, rapidly adjust to and learn from new attack methods, and implement that intelligence back into the infrastructure after each attack.
Moving to a threat-centric model means that Cisco is aligning with other security vendors and the industry view on how to approach managing security with threat centric technology (instead of edge blocking with relatively “dumb” or “passive” firewalls and IPS units). It also aligns with the existing cloud hosted products for active web proxy/scanning security from IronPort and Scansafe.
The statement also highlights that ASA and FirePOWER will be continued forward. Therefore customers can expect to have new FirePOWER firewall options from Cisco in addition to the existing ASA products. Many customers would prefer to have a single vendor strategy and an SourceFire brings a quality application firewall to Cisco Security.
Finally, Cisco states
Cisco is committed to open source innovation and will continue to support Snort, ClamAV and other open source projects.
In the past decade, Cisco has contributed little to open source projects but more recently has been an active and valuable participant in OpenStack and OpenDaylight suggesting, at least, that the Data Centre Business Unit understands the value of the open source mode at least. The addition of Cisco Security Business Unit to supporting open source projects could see Cisco become more committed across the company and accepting of contributing back to the community.
I look forward to watching this progress in the months ahead.