Cisco Acquires Virtual Security Firm Virtuata

By | Jul 20, 2012

Urban dwellers know that maintaining their privacy in crowded apartment buildings can be a delicate task. The same is true for data stored in virtualized environments. This is why Cisco has acquired Virtuata, a firm specializing in virtual security.

For the IT community at midsize firms, the acquisition marks one more step in Cisco's evolution into a major player in the cloud services ecosystem. But more broadly it underlines how cloud vendors are responding to the security concerns that remain one of the principal barriers to cloud adoption.

Apartment Managers

Cisco, which started out as a network specialist, has been building up its scope and resources in order to provide a full range of data-center infrastructure. Its evident goal is to take on the big boys in infrastructure, such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

As Stephen Lawson reports at Computerworld, Cisco has taken one more step in that direction by picking up Virtuata, a virtual security specialist. Virtuata's particular expertise is in making sure that virtual machines are kept separate from each other even when running cheek by jowl in the same physical server environment.

Maintaining such separation is important for cloud customers, who want assurance that their applications or other data operations will be kept secure even while running in the same multi-tenent environment as other processes, perhaps even processes from other firms. Protecting separation is thus also important for cloud data center vendors.

Cisco characterized the Virtuata acquisition as complementing its efforts to provide customers with unified data centers.

Doors Locked and Deadbolted

At one time, not long ago, "the cloud" was pitched largely as a way for midsize firms to do away with those pesky IT departments and professionals. This fantasy has mostly evaporated, as it deserved to: Companies still have to make the key decisions about how to use their data, no matter where it is stored and processed.

The cloud itself has become a much more textured environment--many clouds, really; public, private, and hybrid. But fundamentally the cloud is about renting capacity (storage, processing, or both) and using it more efficiently. This is attractive to many midsize firms.

In this new cloud environment, security has emerged as perhaps the leading concern that is causing midsize firms to hold back from cloud adoption. Almost by definition, firms do not have the same full control of rented resources that they do over purchased resources. Cloud vendors, such as Cisco, are responding to this concern by working to beef up their ability to assure security of their customers' data.

IT managers at midsize firms must weigh a variety of factors before choosing the cloud option and a prospective cloud vendor. But a vendor focused on security surely makes the cloud a more appealing choice.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

IBM Solution Security & Resiliency

IBM's IT security expertise can help medium-sized businesses develop, implement and maintain comprehensive strategies to combat ever-evolving security threats without increasing complexity, cost, or resources required for administration.

Learn More »

More on This Topic