Cloud

New Cisco platform deploys AI to take VPN decision-making off your plate

“We’re not killing the VPN, but we’re taking away the VPN experience,” one executive told IT Brew.
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IT teams have the option to forgo the stress of managing VPNs with a new security tool that uses AI to determine if and when to deploy the networks.

Cisco's Secure Access platform uses AI technology to make the determinations, balancing the needs of zero-trust infrastructure with VPN access.

The platform folds the two together and makes decisions on which to deploy behind the scenes, Jeetu Patel, EVP and GM of security and collaboration for Cisco, told IT Brew at the Cisco Live event in early June.

“We’ve taken the same zero-trust, zero friction, least privileged access approach to cloud infrastructure,” Patel said. “We said, ‘All right, so we protect the users. But we are also going to protect cloud infrastructure.’”

Plumbing the depths. Tom Gillis, SVP and GM of Cisco’s Security Business Group, explained the process in an interview with IT Brew as something akin to plumbing, where if you know what pipes are being used, you’re in trouble—it’s better to keep that stuff under wraps.

“It’d be like asking a user to choose, if you get a glass of water, do you want to deliver it in an iron pipe or a plastic pipe?” Gillis said, noting that users don’t care where it comes from, only that it works without having to think about it.

Using VPNs should be the same, Gillis said. The process has always been cumbersome, and in today’s fast-moving security world, every second counts. The platform will allow teams and developers to skip the decision to connect and the act of connecting.

“We’re not killing the VPN, but we’re taking away the VPN experience,” Gillis said.

Patel also applied the plumbing metaphor to Cisco Security Cloud, another tool with AI capabilities the company offers that can be utilized for VPNs, depending on the application you’re using. To Patel, the secret is keeping things out of sight, out of mind.

“That’s plumbing in the background that you as a user don’t need to see,” Patel said. “You just see an application that you want to connect to and you log in and you connect, and you get to work.”

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.