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February 09, 2007

Selling ice to Eskimos in the Winter

Igloo_1 You have to admire the gall of Cisco.  Paul Roberts over at ComputerWorld (actually InfoWorld had the story first) has a good article up about Cisco releasing its CTA agent as open source.  The reasons given by Cisco are to free up development resources for other areas of NAC, letting Microsofts NAP client handle controlling the desktop and concentrating on data leakage.  Geez, I didn't realize things are so bad at Cisco that they are so resource constrained. 

Here is what I see as the truth (warning, this is my own biased opinion), first of all no one used the CTA.  The Cisco NAC framework has been a miserable failure.  No customers want it because of the limited functionality and the expense of upgrading the network. The NAC partners (including StillSecure) realized a long time ago that Cisco had no desire or real plans in working with them in bringing joint solutions to market.  It was all about saying how many partners they had over what MS had and TCG.  At least they had the honesty to admit it in the article.

Another reason is that Cisco is content to sell the Perfigo/Nessus solution.  Hey if they are going to do that, they should at least talk to Ron Gula and the Tenable folks and compensate Tenable for all the work Ron and team do on the NASL plugins.

My last reason is that Cisco has the attention of a flea in the security market.  NAC has grown boring for them now and they are going to re-concentrate on playing with CSA.  It reminds me of my kids when they decide one toy is now old and boring and they go play with another one.  This keeps them content until we buy them another toy. I guess Cisco will mess with the CSA stuff for a while now and then maybe even take another look at IPS.  If they get too bored, they can whip out Uncle John's checkbook and just buy another toy. Data leakage looks like this seasons hot toy for the Cisco kids.  Look for them to buy something there.

So they don't say what type of open source license this will be released under, but it seems they want to get so far away from the stink of CTA that they will let anyone do anything they want with it.  Of course it still only works with the Cisco infrastructure and Cisco gives it away for free now, so not sure what anyone would find of value in it.  But thats Cisco, trying to sell ice to eskimos in the winter.


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