Jeff Reed, SVP of product management for Cisco’s security business group, hinted at this during an interview with SDxCentral on the sidelines of the RSA Conference this week.
The “SD-WAN transition and the integration of security into that” are top of mind for the networking giant, he said, adding that there are “a lot of really interesting things we are doing between Viptela and Meraki on the SD-WAN side and Umbrella in cloud security.”
Reed then rattled off SD-WAN drivers including telco cost savings and better user experience. “I want to enable that by allowing more direct internet access from the branch, from the user,” he said. “But how do I do that and secure that branch location, that user?”
When asked specifically if an integrated SD-WAN security solution was in the works, Reed said coyly, “things are happening.” He wouldn’t provide any additional details, but noted “The evolution of integration that we’re going to be able to achieve because we have both ends — an 80-percent share in branch routing, and integrating Viptela into that, and now the cloud edge. I think we can do very compelling things given both ends of the pipe.”
Cisco bought SD-WAN vendor Viptela for $610 million last year. By December 2017, the company was integrating Viptela software natively onto some of its routing platforms. In February, communications service provider Orange began offering Cisco-Viptela SD-WAN to its enterprise customers.
And the Umbrella product line secures access to the cloud on and off the network and on any device. “Think of it as a full-blown secure internet gateway,” Reed said. Cisco acquired this cloud security technology from its $625 million OpenDNS purchase in 2015. It protects against malware, botnets, and phishing at the Domain Name Server (DNS) layer.
It sounds like Cisco is working on SD-WAN security with all three technologies. But Viptela built security into its SD-WAN technology in the form of encryption and device authentication. So will Cisco use this or its own security? Apparently we’ll have to wait and see.