Setting a new standard

Lothar Renner, Managing Director of Cisco Security for EMEA, elaborates on the company's value proposition and offerings at Black Hat MEA.

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What are you showcasing at Black Hat this year?

In addition to our core security products and threat intelligence service, Talos, we are showcasing three groundbreaking innovations Cisco introduced to the market this year. Let’s start with our multi-cloud defense, a cloud-native firewall solution that seamlessly operates on four major hyperscalers: Oracle, Google, AWS, and Microsoft Azure. It offers centralized management with simplified operations across all these hyperscalers.

The second innovation is Cisco Extended Detection and Response (XDR), which we unveiled at RSA. Lastly, we have Cisco Secure Access. Earlier this year, we announced the establishment of our own data center in Saudi Arabia, set to launch in the middle of next year. This data centre will be dedicated to serving the Saudi market effectively.

Can you explain why Cisco strongly advocates an integrated approach to security?

In the past, many customers believed that selecting the best-of-breed products, each with the highest ratings would provide them with the best security. However, customers have realized that attackers always target the weakest link. Hackers can exploit the gaps if you don’t have excellent integration among these various best-of-breed solutions or if they don’t work seamlessly together.

So, adopting a single-vendor or best-of-breed approach alone doesn’t guarantee the highest threat efficacy and protection. Integrating these solutions into a unified platform, enabling systems to communicate, share telemetry, and identify anomalies across the entire security portfolio, truly makes a difference in enhancing security going forward.

Do Cisco’s security solutions integrate with other tools in the market?

In the cybersecurity landscape, there are more than 500 vendors. To be a key player, collaboration with other vendors becomes essential.

For example, our XDR platform not only collects telemetry from all Cisco products, including network and email solutions but also from leading suppliers in the market. These include vendors like Proofpoint for email security, Palo Alto and Checkpoint for firewall solutions, CrowdStrike and SentinelOne for endpoint security, and many others. In total, we integrate with 13 different vendors within our XDR platform to enhance threat correlation. This demonstrates Cisco’s commitment to open collaboration with other vendors in the industry.

The XDR market has seen a surge in offerings, making it increasingly competitive. What sets you apart from the competition?

Many vendors in this space come from the Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) space, and they claim to offer XDR.

To effectively protect your organization, whether a company or a government entity, you should look at all elements where network traffic occurs. This includes user devices, cloud infrastructure, and network activity. By correlating data from these various sources, you can gain a comprehensive view of your cybersecurity landscape.

What sets Cisco apart is our ability to maximize visibility by collecting extensive telemetry data. In our XDR platform, we gather insights from multiple sources, providing a level of comprehensive data that many other players in the market cannot match. This breadth of information enhances our ability to provide effective threat detection and response.

Do you leverage AI and ML?

Within our portfolio, we have incorporated AI capabilities for quite some time, even though it may not have been explicitly labeled as such in the past. For example, consider our Talos DNS security. Over the years, we have integrated machine-learning capabilities into our systems. This allowed us to detect patterns like a newly created website receiving a sudden surge in requests shortly after its creation. Such patterns often indicate malicious activity.

As technology has advanced, we’ve continued to enhance our AI capabilities. We’ve even established a dedicated organization within our cybersecurity efforts that focuses exclusively on AI-driven solutions. This underscores our commitment to harnessing the power of AI to enhance security across our offerings.


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