Gee Rittenhouse And Cisco’s Vision To Democratize Security

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When one thinks of Cisco, it is typically in regard to networking infrastructure and the associated products, software and services. However, I wanted to learn more about the company’s focus on security, an area where I have recently expanded my coverage as an analyst. The other day I had the opportunity to speak with Gee Rittenhouse, who leads Cisco’s Security Business Group as General Manager and Senior Vice President. During our one-on-one, we discussed several topics, including his overall vision for security, three critical priorities for Cisco’s SecureX portfolio and Cisco’s contributions to the global cybersecurity community.

Deep experience forged in the cloud and security  

Before jumping into our conversation, it is helpful to know Mr. Rittenhouse’s background. In total, he has been at Cisco for over a decade, heading up the security division for the last five years, and the Cloud and Virtualization Group for the seven years prior to that. This is an impressive pedigree for his position, given how cloudified and virtualized in nature connectivity is today. Furthermore, these days it is delivered increasingly as a service with integrated security, such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). Before Cisco, Mr. Rittenhouse served as president of Bell Labs that capped a nearly fifteen-year total tenure with Alcatel-Lucent. As far as education goes, he holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  

A vision rooted in three key priorities

During our conversation, Mr. Rittenhouse shared his overall vision for Cisco’s security portfolio. At the heart of it all, Cisco’s goal is to reduce the complexity of deploying and managing security within the enterprise. This is no easy task. There is considerable research that supports the fact that the average midsized to large company often manages more than thirty or more security endpoint solutions. These offerings come in the form of firewalls, antivirus, virtual private networking (VPN), web filtering, threat hunting, active defense and many others.

Cisco aims to “democratize security” making it…