Cisco To Invest $1B Building Secure Cloud For Internet Of Things

Cisco Systems announced that it will invest more than $1 billion building what it calls an “Intercloud” – a network of cloud platforms that will support a variety of new business applications, including those supporting connected devices that are part of the Internet of Things.

Cisco Cloud
Cisco says its Intercloud service will add scale and security to IoT applications. (Image courtesy of Cisco.)

The company said on Monday that the new initiative will greatly expand its cloud business over the next two years and provide APIs (application program interfaces) that will allow application developers to rapidly create new products suitable for use in the enterprise or by resellers and service providers.

A range of Cisco’s existing partners have committed to deliver products or services for Cisco’s Intercloud Cloud Services including the Australian firm Telstra, Allstream, a Canadian communications provider and Ingram Micro Inc.a major technology wholesaler. Services provider SunGard Availability Services and Integralis have signed on, as has the IT consulting firm Wipro Ltd.

“Together, we have the capability to enable a seamless world of many clouds in which our customers have the choice to enable the right, highly secure cloud for the right workload, while creating strategic advantages for rapid innovation, and ultimately, business growth,” Robert Lloyd, Cisco’s President of Development and Sales said in a statement.

[Read more Security Ledger coverage of Cisco’s IoT ambitions here.]

It’s unclear, still, what the nature of Cisco’s partnerships will be or, specifically, what kinds of new applications the Intercloud will support. In an official statement, Cisco said it is expanding the Cisco Powered program to include Cisco Cloud Services, as well, which will be offered through the company’s channel partners and directly. Cisco’s Cloud Service comprises a range of capabilities that leverage the company’s vast portfolio of technology. They include Platform- and Infrastructure-as-a-Service offerings, collaboration tools using its WebEx platform, security by way of its Scansafe hosted threat defense technology and Network Infrastructure Management by way of the (recent) Meraki acquisition. 

The Cisco Intercloud is being architected in anticipation of an environment of billions of geographically dispersed endpoints. It is also Cisco’s first big ‘post-Snowden’ announcement: promising “full compliance with local data sovereignty laws,” an apparent reference to demands by European and Asian customers that cloud-hosted data be kept local, and away from the prying eyes of the US intelligence community.

Cisco’s aspirations in the burgeoning Internet of Things have been well documented. After retooling its product lineup and shedding acquisitions like Pure Digital, maker of the Flip camcorder, and Linksys, a maker of home networking gear, Cisco is attempting to succeed in spanning infrastructure, “home” and “office,” where past efforts have failed. The company has forged a brand new “Internet of Things Group” business unit and is looking to parlay its existing relationships with carriers and enterprises.

In January, the company said that it is combining elements of the open source Linux operating system to its IOS firmware, launching a new architecture it calls “IOx” that will connect the billions of intelligent devices that will make up the Internet of Things.

And, in a blog post in early March, Chris Young, a Senior Vice President in Cisco’s Security Group, announced The Internet of Things Security Grand Challenge, saying the contest would offer “visionaries, innovators, and implementers…the opportunity to define a future of a secure IoT,” and pledging up to $300,000 in prizes and awards up to $75,000 for six winners.

Read more about Cisco’s latest announcement here.

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