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Cisco gaining mindshare in security, says research firm

A survey of 259 information security professionals shows Cisco gaining clout with them as a network-security provider, according to research firm TheInfoPro.

“We're interested in looking at vendor preferences,” says Bill Trussell, TheInfoPro's managing director of security research, who notes that “Cisco, as a provider, has come up the list of what we call 'exciting vendors,' when we ask, what products or services do you consider 'exciting.'” He notes the questions are presented in an open-ended way, without a set of preconceived list of answers to chose from. The survey is done twice a year.

The “Information Security Study” based on interviews with chief information security officers and directors of information technology at large and midsize enterprises in North America and Europe, found McAfee topped the list of “exciting vendors,” with Symantec falling to second place, followed by Cisco and Palo Alto Networks.

In midsize enterprises, Cisco and Palo Alto topped the list, with McAfee and Symantec falling below the top five, according to the report.

“The fact that Cisco is now near the top of the list is worth being mentioned,” Trussell says. In a series of questions about security vendor and contract negotiations, Cisco, Symantec and Juniper were among those most frequently cited as providers that would benefit from procurements.

In other findings from the interviews, data-loss prevention was cited by about a third of enterprises as a top initiative for this year. Symantec was named as “the clear market leader for 'in use' and 'in plan' citations,” according to the TheInfoPro report, with McAfee also cited as having “a growing following.”

The survey also asked about virtualization and cloud computing strategies.

All but 2% of the Fortune 100 participants said they had virtualization “in use” in their organizations or had plans to use, with 33% expecting virtualization to impact their security procurements. Check Point was cited most frequently as a vendor they chose to solve security concerns at this stage, the InfoPro report states. Among midsize enterprises, 41% said they were “very concerned” or “extremely concerned” about security in a virtual environment due to concerns about the complexity of it introducing a higher level of security risk.

In a question about cloud computing, the survey found about 35% of Fortune 1000 companies said they were already using cloud-computing services, with 25% planning to use them in the next two years.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents cited “human resources information systems” as the most likely application to be transitioned to cloud services, followed by e-mail and enterprise-resource planning systems. Trussell said he found it somewhat surprising that HR systems were cited as the most likely application expected to transition to the cloud “since there's sensitive information in HR systems.” Moreover, 72% of organizations also were said to be “extremely concerned” or “very concerned” about security in the cloud environment, the report points out.

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