It wasn’t too long ago that Cisco was a dominant force in information security technology. The company was a market leader in firewalls, IDS/IPS, and e-mail security and was actively pushing products for endpoint security and SIEM as well as security “blades” for Catalyst switches. Heck, Cisco even articulated a bold vision of “self-defending networks” with security policy, enforcement, and intelligence all baked into the network.
Somewhere around 2008, however, Cisco security went into a prolonged slump. Cisco security products didn’t offer the performance of rivals like Crossbeam (now Blue Coat), Juniper, or McAfee. Cisco missed markets like next-generation firewalls, opening the door for savvy startups like FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, and Stonesoft. Cisco products such as the Cisco Security Agent (Okena) and MARS (Protego) were abject failures and discontinued by the company. Finally, Cisco’s security team itself imploded as management and engineering leaders fled San Jose for greener valley pastures.