Cisco Systems has struck a deal to acquire Duo Security in a US$2.35 billion (A$3.19 billion) cash deal that clears a new path for the networking behemoth into the market for unified access security and multifactor authentication.
Privately held Duo Security's cloud-based solution verifies the identity of users and the health of their devices before granting them access to applications.
Cisco intends to integrate Duo's solution with its cloud security platforms with an eye toward helping customers connect securely to any application over any networked device, a Cisco spokesman said in a statement.
Cisco intends to pay US$2.35 billion in cash and assumed equity awards for Duo's outstanding shares, warrants and equity incentives. Duo's employees will become part of Cisco's security business group, which is led by Gee Rittenhouse. The Security Business Group sits within Cisco's Networking and Security business, which is led by executive vice president, networking and security, David Goeckeler.
Goeckeler said in a blog post that Duo would play a major role in Cisco's intent-based networking strategy.
Duo's cloud-based SaaS solution for unified access security and multi-factor authentication will play an important role in extending Cisco's intent-based networking solutions into multi-cloud environments, and is also part of a larger strategy to integrate the networking giant's most important software and cloud products into a "single platform architecture" according to Goeckeler, who spoke who held a conference call to discuss the Duo acquisition on Thursday.
"Intent-based networking is all about automating the network," he said. "Think of the network as one large software system, not a collection of independent routers and switches and access points. You define the intent of what you want that software to do. As the users access that network, you have to understand what capabilities you're providing to those users. What policy do you want to allow them? What do you want them to access so you can enforce security?"
Goeckeler said he expected Duo's solution to be closely integrated with Cisco's Umbrella cloud-delivered enterprise security platform, to add identity awareness to Cisco's internet gateway, cloud access security broker, enterprise mobility management and several other cloud-delivered products.
"We will deliver the most effective zero-trust security architecture in the market," he said.
With Umbrella, Cisco brought firewall and advanced threat capabilities into a cloud-delivered model, and the company intends to add identity and access management to the same model, Goeckeler said.
Beyond that, Goeckeler said Duo's solution would extend into Cisco's networking portfolio, especially as the red-hot SD-WAN market continues to expand. As it does, Cisco will be in a position to offer a frictionless, cloud-native identity and access management solution integrated with products like its Meraki cloud WiFi and its Viptela SD-WAN solution.
"This is extending the reach of our solution," Goeckeler said. "Applications are moving through multiple public clouds. The private data centre is still there. We've been looking at this space for quite some time, and we know we were going to move the portfolio in this direction. To have a world-class security architecture, you need to have these capabilities."