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Cisco announced its intention to acquire French industrial IoT (IIoT) company Sentryo to bolster Cisco’s IoT platforms’ device management and security features. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of October 2019 for a currently undisclosed sum.
Sentryo provides device security and visibility solutions for industrial control systems in the energy, manufacturing, oil and gas, and transportation sectors.
The acquisition will allow Cisco to deploy Sentryo’s IIoT solutions on its intent-based network architecture to better protect assets and manage devices at scale.
Here’s what it means: The addition of Sentryo’s security solutions will make Cisco’s platform more valuable to clients because they will be able to better view, manage, and secure all the devices on their network — something that currently poses a challenge for many companies.
Sentryo’s tech will provide Cisco clients a better view of their networks, allowing them to detect issues faster.Cisco’s platform will employ Sentryo’s deep packet inspection (DPI) capabilities to identify the devices connected to a network and establish communication patterns between the devices and systems. Once devices are identified, customers can use Cisco’s DNA Center and Identity Services Engine to segment devices and actions.
Increased visibility is an important development because a majority of enterprise clients aren’t confident that they know what’s connected to their networks. According to a survey by ZK Research cited by Cisco, 55% of respondents expressed that they have little or no confidence that they know all devices in their network.
Not knowing what devices are connected to a network leaves it vulnerable to hacks, as an outdated device could act as a gateway for malicious actors. That in turn could lead to issues like the crippling cyberattack that cost Norsk Hydro over $50 million earlier this year.
The bigger picture: Cisco’s device management- and protection-focused acquisition illustrates evolving market demands for heightened security measures.
IoT devices are being increasingly targeted by hackers, and companies in the IoT industry are looking to offer protection. In just the first half of 2018, there were almost four times as many malware modifications used to carry out attacks on IoT devices than in all of 2017 combined, according to Kaspersky Lab.
As a result, companies are increasingly making investments in new tech and features geared toward remedying security issues. Cisco’s Sentryo acquisition is just the most recent example: In November 2018, Blackberry acquired endpoint security company Cylance for $1.4 billion to boost its IoT security initiatives; and in March, Microsoft launched the Azure Security Center for IoT, which provides security management for IoT devices on its cloud.
These investments in IoT security likely illustrate demand from customers to protect their networks and devices. To capitalize on customer sentiment, IoT platform providers should emphasize their existing security features and invest in new security tools or partnerships to strengthen their products.
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