Cisco's New CEO is Bullish on Security

Cisco reports full year fiscal 2015 revenue of $49.2 billion as Chuck Robbins takes the helm as new CEO.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Aug 13, 2015
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Chuck Robbins hosted his first ever call as CEO of Cisco on August 12, with lots of good news to share about the company he now leads.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, Cisco reported revenue of $12.8 billion for a 3.9 percent year-over-year gain. Net income was reported at $2.3 billion for a 3.2 percent yearly gain. For the full year, Cisco reported revenue of $49.2 billion for a 4.3 percent year-over-year gain, while 2015 Net income was reported at $9.0 billion for a 14.4 percent gain.

"While this is only my third week officially in the CEO role, we've really hit the ground running since my appointment was announced on May 4," Robbins said during the call with financial analysts.

One of the real bright spots in Cisco's overall portfolio for growth is the security business.

"As we look at security, in a highly distributed digital world, security is the top concern for our customers," Robbins said.

A core part of Robbins' security optimism is growth from the FirePOWER security services business, which Cisco gained through its $2.7 billion acquisition of Sourcefire in 2013.

"In Q4 we added customers more than 15 times faster than Sourcefire at the time of the acquisition," Robbins said.

Robbins explain that on FirePOWER services, which is where Cisco has its malware capabilities, Cisco added almost 3,000 new customers in the fourth quarter alone. He added that before the quarter, Cisco only had approximately 3,000 FirePOWER customers, so the customer count doubled during the quarter.

"What we plan to do now is take FirePOWER across all of our 275,000 ASA firewall customers," Robbins said.

From a revenue perspective, security grew at 4 percent year-over-year for Cisco, and Robbins is hopeful for an accelerated growth rate in fiscal 2016.

"I am very bullish about where we are with our security portfolio," Robbins said. "I think the team has done a tremendous job. They've actually driven the transition that we have begun from hardware to software and subscription business."

Cisco's subscription-based security services capabilities are set to also expand in fiscal 2016, with new technologies. Cisco announced its intention to acquire security vendor OpenDNS for $635 million on June 30.

"The OpenDNS acquisition aligns with our strategy to deliver more cloud-based subscription services and drive the value of analytics and our security offerings," Robbins said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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