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Cisco to buy IoT firm Sentryo

Posted: August 17th, 2019

Once again Cisco has gone shopping and this time is has its eye fixed on a French based company call Sentryo which specialises in anomaly detection with real-time threat detection for industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) networks.

Having the ability to network sensors will improve efficiencies and Cisco can offer its control systems to allow better visibility to detect anomalies and better secure networks.

Sentryo was set up back in 2014 and according to Crunchbase has an estimated turnover of £3M annually. Cisco expect to finalise the acquisition by the first Quarter of 2020 but there is little detail on the deal.

This will be Cisco’s second purchase this you when it bought Singularity for its analytics systems in January of 2019. This a lot less than the Six companies which Cisco bought in 2018. Cisco have a history of buying companies for their technologies this is nothing new.

OT or operational networks allow data between sensors to be carried over IT networks. These sensors are used on industrial control systems and could be prone to hacking attempts to shut down or disrupt operations. So, it is important that OT data is kept secure. The normal OT network is made up of thousand of individual components which make them more complex than traditional data networks.

Sentryo’s systems use deep packet inspection which examines the data within the packets to ensure that they do not contain any malicious code. The Deep Packet Inspection engine can be deployed either on existing networks or on Sentryo sensor devices. This means rather than pulling out an existing network it is possible to deploy the sensors on an out-of-band monitoring network.

Having Sentryo folded into Cisco’s portfolio of products will increase their approach to IoT. In January this year Cisco revealed an new family of switches, dev tools and plans to merge industrial networking with IBN (Intent Based network) and traditional IT network security.

All of these new technologies will be handled by Cisco’s DNA center which is used to as a management tool for enterprise networks that has features that can permit automation, policy based segmentation, fabric provisioning to list but a few of DNA’s abilities. This allows user of Cisco’s DNA to provision network resources and apply network policies faster than the traditional manual methods of the past.

There is also Cisco’s IoT field Networks Director that can also manage Ciscos industrial grid routers and endpoints.

Having passive DPI on the network which has the ability to automatically detect new IoT and other OT devices makes the management of network much easier to scale. Also, the DPI element will monitor the traffic between devices to detect any unusual traffic patterns or behaviour.

IoT devices do not have the traditional level of security one would find on mature operating systems such as Windows or Apples OS’es. If hackers could take over or control these IoT in an industrial network it could mean a production line have to shut down.