How Chris Young is Securing Cisco’s Security Business

At the end of 2011, Chris Young joined Cisco as the leader of the company’s new security and government group, tasked with overseeing a massive portfolio of security products and initiatives.

In an interview with Enterprise Networking Planet at last week’s RSA conference, Young detailed his role and his challenges at the world’s largest networking vendor and where security fits into the mix.

Young’s responsibility includes all of the firewall, web, email, IPS, cloud security, Chris Young, SVP CiscoVPN and Identity Services across Cisco. At Cisco, security is both an industry vertical with specific security products, and then there is also security as a horizontal effort across the entire Cisco portfolio.

Cisco also validates the security of its own products, which is an effort that Cisco’s Chief Security Officer, John Stewart, helps to oversee for the company.

Young has responsibility within Cisco on shipping security products as well as security product direction.

“A well kept secret across Cisco for years has been that there is a tremendous amount of security being done in various places in the company,” Young said.

That security was being driven by specific platform teams, architecture teams, the internal security teams and others that were all doing aspects of security. Young noted that Cisco CEO, John Chambers came to the realization that the company needed to have more of a focused leader for security across all of Cisco.

Security Metrics

“Security is a good business and everyone at Cisco recognizes that,” Young said. “The expectation is that we’ll be competitive and grow the business.”

Security is also part of Cisco’s technology architectures as well. One such example is Cisco’s Unified Access Portfolio, which was recently updated with converged wired/wireless policy control. The Identity Services Engine is a key part of the total solution.

“The participation in the Unified Access overall architecture is critical not just for the standalone revenue from ISE, but for the overall value proposition,” Young said.


For Young, the key part of his job is making sure that Cisco is delivering on the value that the network can bring to the overall security architecture.

“When you’re Cisco and you run so much IT infrastructure from the data center to the network and ultimately out to the wireless access, that most of our new devices are leveraging, your customers look to you to provide security across that entire expanse of infrastructure,” Young said.

Cisco needs to be both broad in terms of security, as well as simplify security. The focus on security is across specific standalone products as well as security as well as overall architectures for the enterprise, data center and service provider markets.

“That’s our opportunity as well as our challenge,” Young said.

Watch the full video of the interview with Chris Young below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network,  the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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