New security policies provide organizations with a proven way to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals, but the rollout of such policies is often easier said than done — especially when dozens of firewalls and thousands of devices are involved.

To overcome this challenge, small and mid-size organizations should consider Cisco Defense Orchestrator, a new cloud-based management application.

Announced in July, Defense Orchestrator works with Cisco Systems products such Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) firewalls, FirePOWER Threat Defense, ASA with FirePOWER Services next-generation firewalls and

OpenDNS to improve overall enterprise security.

Defense Orchestrator includes a portal for importing policies that can be applied to firewalls at once. This new process closes the window of opportunity hackers have when appliances and devices receive software updates, either in batches or individually.


Defense Orchestrator is less expensive and less complex than Cisco Security Manager. Cisco is initially offering Defense Orchestrator as a cloud product; no word on whether an on-premises version is in the works.

The product will likely be available as part of an enterprise license at some point, giving enterprises, government agencies and other organizations one more reason to consider standardizing their security infrastructure on Cisco.

Broad Analytics

Besides streamlining the change process, Defense Orchestrator provides analytic tools. Customers can:

  • Create a consistent security posture with the use of security policy templates
  • Make a change in one place and deploy across all relevant devices
  • Tally how many times each firewall rule was hit during a certain period
  • Analyze all firewall rules, providing a quick health check
  • Get a dashboard-style overview of categories such as top sites, users, applications and attacks
  • Spot misconfigurations in policies and objects
  • Identify unused polices that can create latency
  • Leverage the scale of the cloud

The application can also verify that changes have been applied to devices, both in real time or offline — particularly helpful when onboarding devices.

It is always difficult to find people skilled enough to use a new IT tool, a hurdle that’s even higher with cybersecurity products. Defense Orchestrator minimizes this hurdle via application-layer capabilities that enable staff to make changes without needing to be deeply familiar with each managed product.

Get a Hands-On Look

While we got a look at Defense Orchestrator in limited release, it is now fully available. CDW can have a Proof of Value account created within 24 hours and we can get devices loaded up in minutes. IT leaders with questions can reach out to a CDW rep for more insight into the product’s rollout and the benefits it can provide.

Vist CDW’s Security Infrastructure page to learn more about our next-generation security solutions and services.