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Cisco improving security features, but complex network management is problematic: Burton Group

Burton Group Inc. today released a network and telecom strategies research report that analyzes Cisco Systems Inc.'...

May 12, 2004  

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Burton Group Inc. today released a network and telecom strategies research report that analyzes Cisco Systems Inc.’s security strategy.

Entitled Cisco Security: Features and Futures and authored by principal analyst Fred Cohen, the report evaluates security features within Cisco’s enterprise products.

It concludes that while Cisco provides many features and is increasingly moving toward standardization of security capabilities within and between select product offerings, management of complex Cisco networks for secure operations is “increasingly untenable for even the best-run enterprises.”

“Cisco’s product features are still high-maintenance security offerings and lack the centralized control and comprehensive approach required for large-scale enterprise security controls with a manageable staff,” says Cohen.

“It offers point solutions to reduce operational complexity in some cases, but the lack of a comprehensive management system is problematic.”

Nevertheless, Cohen adds that Cisco is increasingly providing the tools that enterprises need to cover their network infrastructure requirements and is making strides toward improved security features.

The report’s evaluation was based on Cisco security features including: firewalls; host and network intrusion and anomaly detection systems; linkage to directory services for network access and admission control; redundancy and load balancing for increased service assurance; encryption and virtual private networks; audit trail generation, collection, storage, and analysis; device management; and linkage to third-party security products.

Burton Group provides research and advisory services for enterprise organizations.

Yesterday, Cisco reported its third quarter results for the period ended May 1, 2004.

Net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2004 were US$5.6 billion, compared with $4.6 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2003, an increase of 21.7%, and compared with US$5.4 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2004, an increase of 4.1%