Security is another very strong networking domain for Cisco. From the early 2000's until 2011, Cisco branded much of its security portfolio under the name the Self Defending Network. It's a name that Cisco has since abandoned in favor of the more generic SecureX moniker, though many of the same core components remain in place.

Cisco has a robust portfolio of security devices including standalone intrusion prevention systems (IPSs) as well as IPS modules for the ISR router family and the Catalyst 6500 switching family. Cisco also has been advancing its ASA firewalls as next generation firewall (NGFW) devices with both deep packet inspection and IPS capabilities.

At the top end of the Cisco ASA product family is the ASA 5580 chassis that was first introduced in 2008 and was updated in February of 2012 with new context awareness capabilities.

Contextual awareness is a key component of the SecureX strategy that aims to make sure that the various network components are aware of what is going on around them as well as what is going through them. Another core technology that Cisco has pushed in that regard is its TrustSec architecture which is, basically, an overlay to network access control (NAC). With TrustSec, identity and access control is extended across the network to provide an end-to-end fabric of trust.

Beyond the blocking and tackling of IPS and firewall, Cisco also has a complete set of email security devices in its Ironport division. Complementing that are cloud-based security analysis and research as well as cloud scanning capabilities delivered by Cisco's ScanSafe technology

Spotlight on Cisco: Security
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