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Cisco Touts Security Enhancements, Partner Sales Incentives

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Jeetu Patel, Cisco Systems
Jeetu Patel, Cisco Systems

At Cisco Partner Summit 2022, Executive VP Jeetu Patel addressed a key elephant in the room. Indeed, the networking giant has lost some momentum and some clout in the security market in recent years.

But Patel assured  thousands of partners that Cisco has taken steps to vastly improve its security products. Moreover a $20 million Cisco security branding campaign -- coupled with various partner sales incentives -- are on the way, he said.

Among the key takeaways from Patel's keynote:

1. Priority Number One in the security market has been for Cisco to address product scalability and product quality, he noted. And there has been progress on both fronts, Patel told attendees. Over the past few months, Umbrella has gained various global scaling capabilities to support roughly 200,000 users in a single customer setting, he said. Moreover, Cisco's firewall products have seen bug count reductions of about 70%. With that progress in mind, Cisco needs partners to ensure customers are migrated to the company's latest firewalls, he said.

2. Priority Number Two - Focus on the Experience. Here again, he pointed to progress. For instance, the Meraki and security product lines now have a common user experience.

3. Priority Number Three - Deliver a Unified Platform for the Cloud: The strategy here involves building a cross-cloud platform that allows partners to manage security across Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Key focus areas include network security (firewall), secure connectivity (SSE/SASE), Zero Trust, Application Security and Threat Detection and Response, according to a keynote graphic,.

4. Priority Four - Improve Core Security Features: These enhancements will further address such areas as...

  • Zero Trust: Duo passwordless capabilities are on tap.
  • Network Security: Watch for updates involving Secure Firewall 3105 and an Encrypted Visibility Engine.
  • Secure Connectivity: Including enhancements that will involve Umbrella DLP and Umbrella APIs.
  • Cloud Application Security: Including Secure Workload Policy-as-Code.
  • Threat Detection and Response: Including a CrowdStrike integration.

Each of those security feature enhancements were displayed in a main stage graphic.

Cisco Security: New Sales Incentives for Partners

So what should security partners emphasize while awaiting some of the new feature enhancements? To win business today, Patel told partners to:

  1. Secure and/or refresh the base with the new firewall capabilities.
  2. Sell the end-to-end story, while positioning the  resulting experience becomes a force multiplier.
  3. In addition to selling to CISOs, sell to the security operations center team.

Patel described various partner incentives to drive those sales. "Win new logos and the first year is on us," he noted without going into deeper details. Also of note: Partners will receive new sales incentives for cross-product sales. Plus, there's a 1.5X field incentive for security and collaboration sales.

To stir customer demand and awareness, Cisco is planning a $20 million "Secure the Enterprise" branding campaign.

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.