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Cisco Live 2021 – Highlights from a fresh perspective!

I recently joined the Cisco Secure product marketing team and had the opportunity to attend Cisco Live but this time from the other side of the ‘counter’. I had attended Cisco Live in the past and even presented at one in my past life. This time as an employee and having a front-row seat allowed me to see things up, close, and personal.

Highlights of this year’s Cisco Live

As the world looks to adjust the ways we balance our home and work lives, technology has become a critical cog in everyone’s success. With the achievements of the past year in the face of the challenges, it is time to scale up the benefits of the lessons learned. With this in mind, this year’s global virtual version of the conference was themed ‘Turn it up’.

With an impressive lineup of luminaries like James Cameron, Billie Jean King, Serena Williams in addition to leaders from many industries and within Cisco, I was captivated by the breadth of topics covered.

If you have access and did not get a chance, I recommend watching the replay of the keynotes from Day 1 and 2:

Cisco Live Day 1 Keynote
Cisco Live Day 1 Keynote


Cisco Live Day 2 Keynote
Cisco Live Day 2 Keynote

Simplifying Security

More specifically focusing on security, I find this topic to have a lot of negative baggage that it comes along with. Most of the time security teams are seen as a department of ‘NO’ or at a minimum putting speed bumps everywhere. This is the reason why I really liked the concept of radically simplified security. Read more about this in the news release:

  • Cisco simplifies networking and security operations with an expanded Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture, and unveils innovations to cloud-native platform, SecureX.
  • Cisco launches Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) offer with ability to purchase all core components in a single offer and the flexibility to easily transition to a unified subscription service in the future.
  • Cisco continues to bring radical simplicity to security with SecureX platform enhancements that significantly reduce time to detect and remediate security threats.

The security industry is looking at SASE framework with a lot of interest and there were many sessions touching on that topic. You can see all the SASE sessions here:

Re-imagining access control with security and network in mind, Duo passwordless authentication makes it easier to follow Zero Trust principles with continuous monitoring in mind.

Final Takeaways

Anything we can do to take out or reduce the height of the speed bumps that come with putting in security controls will go a long way in making organizations secure while making it easy for our employees or users to embrace it while getting their work done. In addition, technology trends like SASE and Zero Trust were front and center in the discussions. Finally, Cisco Secure team is putting a lot of resources into the ‘simplifying security’ effort and I’m personally very excited to be a part of it.