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Cisco- Buying into the security game

HPE-SW-Guest ‎08-06-2013 01:46 PM - edited ‎09-25-2015 09:20 AM

 Guest post by Stuart Hatto,  EMEA Product Manager,  HP TippingPoint



If you live in the world of IT security, then it probably came as no surprise when Cisco announced that they were acquiring Sourcefire. Pretty inevitable, if you ask me.


By purchasing Sourcefire, Cisco has all but admitted that they had no relevance in today’s security solutions market. They’re stuck on enhancing the products they have in the market, and making acquisitions to get a foothold in IPS. Cisco knew they needed to get into the market, and Sourcefire was the only kid left on the playground. However, unless there’s a large-scale adoption of Sourcefire’s next-generation offerings, that $2.7B price tag can’t be justified.


In the security business, vendors typically have a loyal, niche reseller community—and Sourcefire is no different. There’s bound to be channel conflict—how are the smaller resellers going to compete with low-margin, high-volume business? The predicted culture clash is going to hurt Sourcefire as they try to juggle two channels with different objectives.


As we look at Snort—and know that Cisco has a limited OpenSource track record—one would tend to believe that they’ll eventually just scrap it. Snort users will begin looking for a solution with more knowledge and familiarity under their belt. Users want a system that can combine policy-based network access, protect physical, virtual and cloud-based networks, application traffic and operations with in-line, real-time threat prevention and security intelligence.  They want an experienced network security solution that provides flexible and modular security for defending applications, networks and data from today’s advanced persistent threats and high-profile attacks.


Looking at Cisco’s lack of experience, SNORT users shouldn’t sweep other solutions, such as HP TippingPoint, under the rug. Utilizing TippingPoints DV Toolkit, the investment in signatures that have been written—both by themselves and the SNORT community—can be saved by importing those signatures. HP’s competency in this area has been proven many times, even used with Government-supplied SNORT signatures in highly sensitive networks. With experienced contenders like HP TippingPoint in the ring, it won’t be long until those Snort users turn their loyalties elsewhere. Experience. It counts.


So, the question remains: Is Cisco serious? Are they REALLY in the security game for the long run? Looking back, surely the time for Cisco to get into the IPS business was 8 years ago, when Check Point failed to acquire Sourcefire—why the game change now? Security has obviously been low on Cisco’s business agenda. So why should we now believe that they’re a serious contender? At this point, all Cisco customers can do is wait…and wait…to see if Cisco can catch up to the rest of the security market. And waiting for a security solution in today’s cyberexposed world is not really an option.


Editors note: This post is the opinion of the writer, not of HP.



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John Welsh
on ‎08-07-2013 12:45 PM

If you look at Cisco historically, they buy companies to enter a market.  They bought Selsius to enter VoIP and they seem to be pretty strong there.  Sure they buy their way into markets, sometimes with good results and sometimes with not so good results (look at Flip). I agreethere is probably going to be some wait and see to figure out what is going to happen with that acquisition, but given time and money (I don't think Cisco is short on the second half of that equation) it could be a good fit.


And I think it's funny that at the top of this post talking about Cisco buying their way into security is an HP Tipping Point logo.  Because that wasn't buying into security at all.  Not judging,we are a TP reseller and sell a fair amount of it, but this post sounded a lot to me like the pot calling the kettle black.

on ‎08-07-2013 01:03 PM

Is this a personal opinion blog post, or an official HP viewpoint? Seems rather antagonistic, and honestly a marketing ploy for those who currently use Snort. Using the statement that Cisco *may eventually* scrap Snort is just plain FUD and not very well veiled either. Not something I would expect to see from a company that claims to be a market leader in the area.

Davi Ottenheimer
on ‎08-07-2013 01:26 PM
please explain how this is not the pot calling kettle black. tippingpoint was an acquisition. arcsight too. is cisco really doing anything different than hp? also, obviously cisco has been a major player in network security for many years. PIX, ASA, MARS really existed and had significant market presence while HP was buying its way into security, no?
on ‎08-07-2013 01:59 PM

Flame on!


Really though. Cisco security is a joke.. or an oxymoron if you will.

on ‎08-07-2013 02:11 PM
Pot, this is the kettle, you're black. That makes sensr to accuse Cisco of buying into the security business what with Those fine homegrown HP solutions like Tipping Point and Arcsight. Oh wait!
Ritu Sharma
on ‎08-07-2013 02:35 PM

I find your post to be a little like the pot calling the kettle black. HP followed the same principles when they acquired Tippingpoint, Arcsight, SPI Dynamics, Fortify to name a few of your acquisitions in the last few years. Every large software vendor who wants to enter a market not previously their stronghold follows this strategy. Why is the Cisco strategy any different?

Matthew Chambers
on ‎08-07-2013 03:18 PM

Interesting point of view on this portion of the market. I would have to agree that with Ciscos limited experience in the Open Source and Security spaces that the struggle will be upward. Snort claims to be the most widely deployed IDS in the world and I can't be sure what piece SF has of that market. I know that many of my companies clients use both TippingPoint, SouceFire and custom Snort boxes.


It will be interesting to see what happens between the markets for these products as the tides shift to vendors who will either drive or dive the level of innovation into the future of Security products.

Raistlin Majere
on ‎08-07-2013 07:33 PM

I'm astounded at the lack of competency displayed in this "article".  That is all. 

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