Cisco Pushing Into SMB Market, Too

Cisco is rolling out new security, collaboration and storage hardware as part of a
$100 million effort targeting small and medium-sized businesses.

With the new SMB-focused solutions, Cisco executives say they’re providing features
tailored especially for smaller business. This is not enterprise scale technology
retro-fitted for smaller players.

As part of the effort, Cisco is rolling out the Cisco Smart Business Communications
System Release 1.4, Cisco Network Storage Systems and the Cisco Spam and Virus
Blocker.

The product releases come as Cisco expands its overall focus beyond its core base of
large enterprise customers to target a wider swath of technology buyers, including
home users and
small businesses.

“It’s been on our roadmap to take our product, which was primarily built for the large
enterprise and the ISP world and bring it in as a form factor for the small business,”
Keith Valory, director of product management in Cisco’s security technology business
group, told InternetNews.com. “But we always felt you can’t just build a product.
You also have to have the whole support ecosystem around it.

Cisco announced a $100 million effort in November to tackle the SMB space with
support, channel and product resources. Valory noted that the new product releases are
the first installment on that $100 million commitment.

The Cisco Spam and Virus Blocker is derived from technology first developed in Cisco’s
Ironport division. Cisco acquired IronPort in 2007
for $830 million.

Cisco continues to deliver IronPort
technology
under the IronPort brand name, but with the new SMB offering will be
branding the technology as Cisco.

The product was built from the ground up for SMBs, he added. But what about Cisco’s
Unified Threat Management (UTM) devices, which the company offers with other vendors? UTM
devices offer the promise of spam and virus protection and are often aimed at the same
SMB market as these latest releases.

“There is a always a positioning thing between a UTM product and a purpose built
e-mail security product,” Valory commented. “The primary driver is that the UTM devices
in the market today don’t stop spam very well.”

Valory claimed that by way of IronPort’s senderbase spam technology, which is a global
network for tracking and blocking spam, the Spam and Virus Blocker appliance will be as
effective as IronPort’s large enterprise offerings.

“Our small business customers get the same technology that Fortune 500 companies get
and that’s something that a UTM today can’t offer,” Valory argued. “UTM is often deployed
in firewall mode so the processing required to do anti-spam is difficult.”

Though Cisco is providing large enterprise capabilities to small business, Valory
claimed that there are a number of differences. The key factor being support resource
that are specifically trained and geared for the needs of small and medium
enterprises.

“If one support person has to one minute be helping a big global customer and then
switch gears and try and help out a small office it’s a night and day experience,” Valory
commented. “I really think it’s just the focus on the small customers as opposed to
trying to play both ends of the spectrum.”

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

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