Cisco Acquires Enterprise Security Firm OpenDNS

Cloud-based security services provider valued at $635 million

Michael Vizard

June 30, 2015

2 Min Read
Cisco Tetration
A bicyclist rides by a sign that is posted in front of the Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As part of an effort to bolster its security services Cisco announced today a plan to acquire OpenDNS, a provider of a cloud service that enables IT organizations to rely more on external DNS servers to better secure their data center environments.

The general working theory behind OpenDNS and other enterprise security intelligence services is to help IT organizations to be forearmed by being better forewarned. Big Data analytics applications are then applied against that data in the hopes of identifying new types of malware before they arrive at the proverbial data center doorstep.

Armed with that information, IT organizations can then remediate the vulnerabilities that malware is trying to exploit. In addition, these intelligence services are also getting better at identifying specific IT organizations that malware may be targeting.

With 25 global point of presence, OpenDNS will extend the visibility Cisco can provide across its security intelligence offerings, David Goeckler, senior vice president and general manager for Cisco’s security business unit, said.

“For us, this acquisition is primarily about security,” he said. “This is part of our global effort to provide security everywhere.”

Goeckler declined to elaborate on exactly how Cisco plans to extend the reach of the OpenDNS service across its existing portfolio of offerings. But beyond enhancing Cisco’s existing enterprise security intelligence services, OpenDNS provides a complementary set of security services on top of a DNS platform to both the Cisco InterCloud strategy for driving the evolution of hybrid clouds and the more nascent effort to create an Internet of Things (IoT) platform.

Cisco estimates that nearly 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020.

Goeckler credited OpenDNS, which is currently valued at $635 million, with building a range of security offerings all delivered as a service. Most recently, OpenDNS exposed those services via a set of APIs designed to make it easier to incorporate that information into, for example, IT automation platforms.

As enterprise security technology gets more sophisticated, the line between security and IT management as a whole will not only continue to blur over time, the entire process will become much more automated. That’s critical, because, as the malware being strewn across the world at data centers gets more advanced, it’s increasingly becoming too difficult for the average IT organization to both detect and gauge how lethal that malware may be on their own.

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