Cisco Focuses on Security for Internet of Things Era

by Sean Michael Kerner

VIDEO: Cisco's security chief discusses security in the Internet of things era as software-defined networking is set to take hold.

As the Internet opens up to connect more things and networking models move from physical devices to a virtualized software-defined networking (SDN) model, security needs to be top of mind. That's the message that Chris Young, senior vice president for Cisco's security business unit, is driving both within Cisco and to the market as a whole.

In a video interview with eWEEK, Young explains the security risks and the model needed for the emerging Internet of things era. Young leads Cisco's security business unit and is taking an active role in working with Cisco's Internet of things (IoT) business teams to embed security throughout.

"We really need the understanding of devices, users, data, applications and the interactions between and among these different unique and discrete elements," Young said. "IoT is the ultimate perimeter-less model."

As things get connected to the Internet, Young said that visibility becomes the only real perimeter. Trust for connected devices needs to constantly be re-evaluated based on the context and the environment in which the IoT device is operating.

Threat awareness is also needed for the IoT era to be secure.

"Threats are the other side of the coin from trust," Young said. "What I can't trust is a threat."


At a corporate level, Cisco has increasingly been focusing its efforts of late on software-defined networking (SDN) and, more specifically, on Cisco's own version known as Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

"A lot of our Application Centric Infrastructure has taken security into account from the beginning," Young said.

From a security perspective, Young said that Cisco has virtualized security gear for ACI, including firewall capabilities. The move to virtualized networking models could turn out to be a real business driver for Cisco as well.

"We expect that in some ways customers will do more with virtualized software-based security services as opposed to what they do today," Young said. "Today they put security boxes at the perimeter of their data centers, and that's it."

Watch the full video interview with Chris Young below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

This article was originally published on Monday Mar 10th 2014