Cisco announces security service linked with new operations centers

Cisco today announced Managed Threat Defense, a set of security services for the enterprise that Cisco is providing through two new operations centers to remotely support intrusion-detection, incident response and forensics, among other services.

Cisco Managed Threat Defense requires the enterprise to deploy an appliance on its internal network so that telemetry information can be collected and securely shared with Cisco staff involved in analytics at the two new operations centers, one based in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham area and the other in Sydney, Australia. The Cisco appliance for Managed Threat Defense includes a number of Cisco security capabilities, such as Cisco Advanced Threat Detection based its anti-malware FireAMP technology gained in the Sourcefire acquisition.

+ Background:Cisco takes aim at security services with new division | Cisco details Sourcefire security threat integration, open source direction+

According to Bryan Palma, Cisco senior vice president and general manager of services security practice, the idea is that the important corporate information that the enterprise wants to protect doesn't ever leave the customer's network.

Staff at the Cisco SOCs remotely monitor round-for-clock for cyberattacks using analytics and anomaly detection and at that point, immediately begin to work with the customer to tackle any problems. The focus is on malware-related incidents and advanced persistent threats where stealthy attacker might try to exfiltrate critical information from the enterprise, Palma said. If an investigation and forensics are needed, Cisco's Managed Threat Defense would undertake that as well.

Although the Cisco 24x7 managed security service is just getting started, IDC analyst Christina Richmond said Cisco's approach is putting forward a comprehensive strategy for defending against advanced threats. "Cisco customers have been asking for this from them," said Richmond.

One question, though, is how this might impact how Cisco sells its standalone security products since Cisco Managed Threat Defense consists of "an integrated bundle of components," as Palma described it. That remains unknown, but Palma notes that the type of customers likely to have the most interest in Cisco Managed Threat Defense are large enterprises. Though costs for the monthly service provided through the Cisco SOCs will vary based on each customer's needs, it's likely to start in the $100,000 per year range with multi-year contracts. General availability of it is expected within the next 60 days.

Another question is how well Cisco's managed security service will be able to work in networks that are not based entirely on Cisco network and security products. Palma said Cisco anticipates there will be a need "to support telemetry from non-Cisco sources."

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail:

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