- Cisco's security architecture must remain open enough so the company "can build an ecosystem to actually protect all of our customers," said CEO Chuck Robbins, speaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, FL.
- Though Cisco has long specialized in hardware, much of the security in its products stems from the software layer, which helps create a more open, usable product architecture.
- "All of our customers and the industry understands it's not just about defending any more. You have to also just acknowledge that you are going to have infiltrations," Robbins said. "Subsequent to that, do you have a strategy for identifying and remediating, and then resolving for the future."
Cisco has made a concerted effort to innovate beyond its core business of switches and routers, but to do so and remain competitive, the company has to earn customer trust. Part of that is "building an architecture" of security that is not just centered around a few products, Robbins said.
The more the company can prove its security prowess, the better Cisco will be able to convince customers. So Cisco is quick to tout its successful defense of the Rio Olympics IT infrastructure. Responsible for crafting the security architecture for the Olympic Games, Cisco identified 40 million threats, blocked 23 million attempted intrusions and defended 23 "pretty aggressive" DDoS attacks, Robbins said.
While Cisco is proving to customers its seriousness about cybersecurity, the company is having some internal growing pains. In August, the company announced plans to lay off 5,500 employees, or about 7% of its workforce. It has also had several of its top executives leave, including its CTO and its enterprise engineering lead.