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Cisco and Duo Eye Cross-Portfolio Security Synergies

Six months after Cisco’s multi-billion-dollar purchase of multifactor authentication vendor Duo Security, both companies are barreling down the road toward offering bundled solutions and combining separate partner programs into one. By Rich Freeman

Six months after the close of its $2.35 billion acquisition by industry giant Cisco Systems Inc., Duo Security and its new corporate parent are rapidly fleshing out plans to convert cross-platform synergies into increased sales of traditional and managed security solutions.

Weaving Duo’s multifactor authentication and other solutions together with Cisco’s security offerings, including its Umbrella product family, is a main focus of those efforts at present, according to Matt Smith, Duo’s head of global partner sales and business development.

“A lot of the work we’ve been doing has been looking for opportunities where we can include Duo more broadly in the Cisco portfolio,” he says, adding that Duo’s authentication expertise rounds out Cisco’s existing capabilities in ways that help both vendors—and their partners—meet mounting customer demand for comprehensive security services.

Steve Benvenuto, senior director of global security partner sales at Cisco and Smith’s close working partner on post-acquisition integration, agrees. “It’s a very complimentary fit for our partners who are really embracing this end-to-end architecture sale,” he says.

End-to-end architectures have been a hallmark of Cisco’s go-to-market strategy in security for a while, Benvenuto notes. Seeking to help customers and partners alike navigate its expansive security product catalog more easily, the company has been steadily building out a set of “sales plays” that align bundled sets of products with desired end user outcomes, like warding off ransomware.

“That strategy has been working for us and simplifying how we go to market,” Benvenuto says, noting that Cisco is hard at work now on slotting Duo products into those plays for future sales campaigns. Simultaneously, he adds, the company is cross-selling Duo solutions to companies that purchased Cisco security products earlier as well.

“Bringing Duo back into those customers that are already leveraging other parts of the Cisco architecture and adding Duo on is really a lot of what we spend our time focusing on,” Benvenuto says.

Planning for the eventual integration of Duo’s partner program with Cisco’s is another current focus area for the two vendors, he continues. Timing for that transition has yet to be determined.

“That work is ongoing and underway,” Benvenuto says. “There’s no specific timeframe that I can give you now that says we’re going to cut over on a certain date.”

According to Smith, however, both Duo and Cisco will benefit from that process once it’s completed. Cisco’s channel, for example, includes partners in segments like cybersecurity consulting that Duo has yet to penetrate. “We’re going to now accelerate into those partner types,” Smith says, while giving its existing partners a wider range of security solutions to sell.

Conversely, legacy Cisco resellers making the move into managed services generally and managed security services specifically can now tap into the same annuity-based products that Duo’s MSP-heavy channel has been offering for years. “They get very excited about these kinds of SaaS and software-based offers that we can bring to them that help them move to that future state of becoming a recurring revenue partner,” Benvenuto says.

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