Cisco Extends Cybersecurity Portfolio with Help from AI – Security Boulevard

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Cisco this week previewed a set of faster firewalls it plans to add to its portfolio in addition to revealing plans to embed artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities into its Firewall Threat Defense (FTD) software and Cisco Security Cloud.

Announced at a Cisco Live! 2024 event, version 7.6 of FTD also extends the reach of Cisco firewalls to more than 70 generative AI applications that can be securely accessed via a Cisco software-defined wide area network that has integrated firewalls.

Scheduled to be available in October, Cisco claims the Cisco Firewall 1200 Series is three times faster than rival platforms to enable many organizations to consolidate the number of firewall appliances they currently manage.

Cisco also plans to launch Cisco Security Cloud Control in September to centrally apply generative AI to the management of cybersecurity via Cisco Security Cloud, starting with is network security fabric portfolio that includes its Secure Firewall Threat Defense, Secure Firewall ASA, Multicloud Defense and Hypershield platforms. Cisco is also extending Cisco Hypershield, a framework that leverages AI, extended Berkeley Packet Filtering (eBPF) and digital win capabilities, to improve cybersecurity, to now include support for AMD Pensando data processing units (DPUs) and Intel infrastructure processing units (IPUs).

In addition, Cisco is extending the integration between the Splunk observability and analytics platform it acquired earlier this year and Cisco Duo and Secure Malware Analytics, with additional sources of telemetry data to be added in the months ahead. Cisco is also promising to make network telemetry data collected from its Meraki MX networking appliances accessible from Cisco Extended Detection and Response (XDR) platform.

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Finally, Cisco extended its alliance with Google to provide integrations with Chrome Enterprise to secure browsers and Cisco Secure Access for protection Web applications.

Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager for security and collaboration at Cisco, told conference attendees that the Cisco approach to cybersecurity is built on a foundation of physical and virtual firewalls that can be extended across a highly distributed computing environment. Cisco is trying to bring security to the workload rather than moving the workload to security, he said.

Cisco has long made a case for converging the management of cybersecurity and networking. As IT environments become more distributed, Cisco is betting more organizations will look to reduce the total cost of IT by converging networking and security operations. Many organizations are looking to make up for a chronic lack of cybersecurity expertise by shifting more responsibility for security operations to other members of the IT operations team. The challenge, of course, is first training those teams and then providing them with the tools needed to succeed.

Regardless of the approach, the one thing that is clear is AI will play a much larger role in securing IT environments in the months and years ahead. The only thing left to be resolved is finding the best way to aggregate all the telemetry data needed to train those AI models, hopefully before cybercriminal gangs and nation states harness the same capabilities to inflict even more damage than they already have.

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