By submitting your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding relevant topic offers from TechTarget and its partners. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact TechTarget at 275 Grove Street, Newton, MA.
First, it's important to understand what last year's Cisco Systems Inc. announcement really means. Cisco announced that it plans to provide third-party developers with access to IOS application programmer interfaces (APIs) in an effort to promote the development of tools that work with the Internetwork Operating System. Cisco did not state that it will make IOS code open source or available to the public. Realistically speaking, Cisco will likely develop partnerships with software firms, allowing them to write code that integrates with IOS.
Why do I think the decision may improve security? If the initiative pans out, we're likely to see a number of new network management tools that integrate with IOS. In my opinion, anything that allows the simplification of network administration through centralization of effort is an improvement.
Some may worry about a potential exposure of Cisco's source code to hackers, but consider two relevant facts. First, hackers have already stolen copies of IOS source code and posted it on a Russian website. Despite the fact that this theft occurred four years ago, we haven't seen a crippling series of IOS exploits. Second, there are plenty of open source products out there (think Linux) that have excellent security reputations. In fact, the public nature of such source code opens it up to additional scrutiny by the infosec community, a move that often improves the security of the products.
So while it may take time for Cisco's new IOS strategy to bear fruit, I'm confident it will benefit enterprise network security in the long run.
Dig Deeper on Open Source Security Tools and Applications
Related Q&A from Mike Chapple
Vulnerability scanning tools are necessary to be fully compliant with PCI DSS, but the tools need to come from a PCI DSS Approved Scanning Vendor. ...continue reading
Healthcare clearinghouses like Mass HIway are a new trend in health IT, but what are the security implications? Expert Mike Chapple explains what you...continue reading
The FFIEC Cybersecurity Assessment Tool has faced harsh criticism since its 2015 release. Expert Mike Chapple reviews the tool and how it can be ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.