Cisco Live 2024: Keys for Security Partners to Stay Profitable

Brian Feeney, Cisco's Global Vice President of Security Partner Sales, put the company's latest strategic moves into context and announced news for security partners. What resources and programs is Cisco making available to partners in Latin America? Special coverage from Las Vegas.

Brian Feenwy, Cisco

In the last few weeks, two announcements have shaped the expectations of Security partners, particularly those working with Cisco‘s offer. The acquisition of Splunk and the launch of Hypershield. In an exclusive interview with Brian Feeney, Cisco’s Global Vice President of Security Partner Sales, the executive admitted to being very excited about both announcements. “Hypershield is the first generation of something completely new. We’re not talking about updating something that already existed. And we believe that Cisco partners, specifically those with strengths in Security and Networking, will be able to benefit from bringing security into the fabric of the network.” 

Feeney, who is just over a year into his current role at Cisco, but has extensive experience at other vendors such as Intel, Avaya, HP and Palo Alto, to name a few, clarified that “partners will be able to add their own services on top of this, such as SDR (SIEM Detection and Response) or MDR (Managed Detection and Response). They can leverage additional telemetry from Hypershield and introduce it into the managed services they provide.”

Brian Feeney at the press conference.

On the Splunk acquisition side, he added, “One of the things that differentiates Cisco is cross-domain telemetry. If you look, 81% of global Internet traffic goes through Cisco network solutions that many of the Latin American partners have deployed. We believe we have the broadest cross-domain telemetry, whether it’s e-mail, network, terminal… and then you have Splunk and what it provides with SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) and SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response). We’re really excited about the opportunities that partners really have in reselling SOC (Security Operation Center) or managed SOC services. They’ll really be able to expand their MDR practices. 

They can leverage additional telemetry from Hypershield and introduce it into the managed services they provide:”

As far as Splunk is concerned, it’s worth clarifying that integrations such as FSO (Full Stack Observability) and another Security integration are already in place. “For example, if we talk about Cisco Security Cloud feeding Splunk, that’s already happening. But over time we will add more telemetry, whether it’s from Cisco XDR or Meraki MX,” Feeney added.

How to make the business more profitable

When asked about the resources and programs that Cisco is making available to partners to maintain high profitability in the security business, the VP of Security Partner Sales commented: “In the last year we did three things really well. One, Simplification. If you’re thinking about becoming a security partner, if you go to a conference like RSA, there are hundreds of vendors at the show waiting for you (with their respective offerings). So we’re pushing ourselves and going from thirty point products to three suites. That’s how we’re coming to market now: Breach Protection Suite, User Protection Suite and Cloud Protection Suite. All of this underpinned with firewall and AI, of course. We also simplified programs and promotions; a few are running today that are the most relevant.” 

The second thing they have done well, the executive maintains, is to reinforce Profitability. “As part of this process, we saw the opportunity to put more of our profitability on the front end, which is what partner representatives are concerned about. And we also doubled the VIP rebates with suites. This means that if you sell Suites then you get 30%, it’s more straightforward.” 

The last of the things that have been done well is the expansion to new routes to market, an issue that Feeney considers very relevant in Latin America. “We added coverage for MSPs, Service Providers, Hyperscalers… And that’s where most of my efforts are directed at the moment: supporting partnerships for those new routes to market.”

These initiatives are joined by others such as improvements in the receipt of Security business registrations, an aggressive discount program on firewalls (if the competitor is an incumbent) and an equally aggressive firewall upgrade program, Feeney summarizes.