I’m excited to start a new chapter in my career. I’ll be joining Cisco to do Business Development within the Security Business Group (SBG). It’s quite an exciting time at Cisco as the cybersecurity market is expected to hit $77 billion this year and the SBG is becoming a leader in the space as well as within the company. Recently, NetworkWorld said that it believed “that the company has turned a corner. Cisco can now return to a leadership role in enterprise security technology…” Here’s how and why I joined Cisco…
Towards the end of 2013, I moved to San Francisco with the idea of joining a community and culture that has been quite hot for the past few years…err decades. The immersion process helped me to understand how impressive the city is terms of community, culture, people, opportunity and fearlessness (the latter being the creator of the previous four). My goal and process was to move to a company that dealt with the Internet of Things (IoT), the enterprise, ‘big data’ (I hate that word but it’s digestable by most) and/or payments with aspects of law. The city has not failed me in that I’ve found these trends and so much very more. If you love learning, nature and smart men and women, come to San Francisco.
The Internet of Everything
Cisco believes that no fewer than 50 billion devices will be connected by the year 2020. However, for these devices to be truly transformational, businesses in the device industry will need to scale to bring together people, process, data, and Internet of Things. Cisco has termed this transformation – “The Internet-of-Everything.” We believe that Internet-of-Everything will evolve into a $19 trillion (public + private sector) market over the next decade. More connected devices lead to everything being more vulnerable to attack. Therein lies the opportunity….
People & Process
With the advent of the cloud software model, our technology is becoming increasingly distributed throughout the organization. With this growth in technology in all industries (public & private), software companies offer great opportunities for growth. In the past, technology controls were housed with ‘the techies’. Only a few years ago, the technologically savvy were all who could really understand and utilize real technology. However, cloud services and the rise of devices such as the iPhone have allowed distributive buying power. The decision maker is no longer the technical user but the everyday person – everyone is a technology consumer. Any person can buy technology for their needs with minimal oversight. This raises the security concerns for information that Cisco SBG is looking to address. At the end of the day, people and processes will be used amongst many disparate systems so it’ll be the job of security to keep people and processes from being democratized.
Internet of Things
The term ‘Internet of Things’ has been used quite frequently to describe the movement of connecting devices that were previously not connected. I’m a big believer, on a macro level, in the idea that magical things will happen when multiple devices are able to communicate. How we get there is anyone’s guess but I have no doubt that security will play an important part.
If you look at the trend line for Google searches for the term “internet of things”, it remained flat until the middle of 2013 and then went through the roof in January 2014. The crescendo seems to have reached a peak with Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition in January of Nest Labs.
With the increased interest in IoT, what’s going to be needed is a workable communication platform for the connected devices. Consumers don’t have the mindset of techies so what’s needed is way for these devices to connect and get out of the way. With so much communication between these devices, security of data across platforms will be needed.
The Internet of Everything allows us all to store and gather more devices, tablets, laptops and whatever else you can think that will be made in the future. The result can be a huge source of competitive advantage because of the ability to gather data, analyze it and act on it. With this increased power of data, things will get more complex and the threat of attacks will be all the more real. Putting in security measures and access and usage rights will be a big part of classifying data.
To go along with the increased usage of data will be the legal concepts that are meant to define what is the difference of public and private data. With all the data that can be gathered from our everyday, these connected environments can pretty much track anything about you. What’s legal and illegal will become blurred. Security will help to define these areas.
The transfer of money, specifically electronic payments has been quite an interest of mine for the past few. It is no small industry. In 2013 there were $4.9 trillion worth of volume on cards in the U.S. in 82 billion transactions, according to data from the Electronic Transaction Association, the industry’s trade group — that’s 2.6K transactions per second. Those numbers have lead to immense amounts of funding over the past few years as seen by the increase in funding:
If you look at the payments system, it’s amazing to see how so many uneven industries work together to create a relatively smooth transaction process. Imagine all the industries involved for payments from manufacturing plastic to credit cards to the banks involved in payments. That’s a whole lot of moving parts. The system is underscored by the idea that with so many different companies and function, security at each link becomes critical. New technologies, such as cryptocurrency, as well as peripheral industries such as loyalty and data analytics are at risk of attack. The risk will be borne out by all parts of the system so it’ll be the role of security to guard against such attacks and mitigate any damage.
The Internet of Everything brings about privacy and security implications. For example, the Department of Homeland Security has reported security holes in some 300 medical devices made by 40 companies that could be compromised by online tampering. These devices will know a great deal of data about our lives, habits, location and relationships. Privacy and security will become enormous and Cisco will be there to address those needs.
Cisco is betting a huge part of its future on security because the internet offers economic benefits but an erosion of that confidence will be met with serious concern over the future of the technology and/or company. Cisco SBG is looking to thrive in a world when the connection of people and devices offer greater freedom and prosperity to anyone who utilizes technology. Isn’t that what technology is for? I think so.