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Cisco Partner Summit 2022 Live Blog: Cybersecurity, MSP and SMB News Analysis

Credit: Getty Images
Luxy Thuraisingam,
Luxy Thuraisingam, Cisco Systems

Cisco Partner Summit 2022 arrived at a key time for the networking giant and its partner ecosystem. Indeed, Cisco continues to extend beyond traditional hardware sales toward SaaS and annual recurring revenue (ARR) opportunities. There are signs of progress -- and some remaining challenges -- according to ChannelE2E briefings and interviews at the conference (November 1-3, Las Vegas).

Among the factoids to note:

  • Partners are driving roughly 90% of the Cisco's overall revenues, the company said.
  • Cisco now generates about $4 billion in annual revenue through the  SMB sector -- with growth of nearly 30% annually, according to Luxy Thuraisingam, head of global partner marketing and SMB.

Side note: We spoke with Thuraisingam at length on November 1, and we'll share more perspectives from that conversation soon.

What's On Our Mind

Meanwhile, Cisco's business evolution also faces various challenges. Among the key questions we'll be asking on-site at the conference:

  1. How is the company's security business performing and evolving -- especially after some Cisco security business changes apparently arrived in May 2022?
  2. How is Cisco performing in the SMB sector, where MSP partnerships remain a critical go-to-market for most vendors these days? We'll be seeking updates on Duo for multi-factor authentication (MFA); Umbrella for SASE and cloud-delivered security; and the Secure MSP Center.
  3. What role, if any, is Cisco venture capital playing in the security business evolution?
  4. How can partners monetize Cisco's own managed services -- without competing with the networking company in the MSP sector?

Cisco Partner Summit 2022: Five Areas of Focus

While we pursue answers to those questions, Cisco is expected to to share updates in these five areas:

  1. Cisco's Security Cloud vision.
  2. Cisco's API-first strategy.
  3. Customer experience (CX) and partner lifecycle services (PLS).
  4. Hybrid work, including WebexOne updates.
  5. Cloud-scale networking that delivers "800G while still meeting sustainability goals."

Cisco Partner Summit 2022: New Partner Specializations

Meanwhile, Cisco kicked off the conference by announcing six new partner program solution specializations. They include:

  1. Full-stack Observability (FSO) for partners to showcase their "expertise in centralizing and correlating application performance analytics across the full IT stack, including integrations across AppDynamics, ThousandEyes, Intersight, and Secure Application."
  2. Hybrid Work from Office for partners that help customers "evolve traditional on-site and off-site work models."
  3. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) for partners that help "customers to securely enable the growing universe of roaming users, devices, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps without adding complexity or reducing end-user performance."
  4. Hybrid Cloud Computing for partners partners that provide customers with "simple, secure hybrid cloud computing experiences at home, in the office, or anywhere."
  5. Hybrid Cloud Networking for partners that "securely and efficiently connect and manage customers' data, workloads, and applications across data centers, edge, and multiple clouds."
  6. Hybrid Cloud Software for partners that can manage "operational complexity by helping customers streamline and unify IT operations with secure, hybrid cloud management software."

As a reminder, Cisco has four categories of partner specializations that span architectures, solutions, Cisco Powered Services (for managed services and SaaS) and horizontal business expertise.

Next up: Our meetings with various Cisco executives and partners kick off today (November 1). Keep checking this blog for ongoing updates.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.