What Cisco’s new ‘smart’ firewall can tell us about network security

By By LOUISE KUDRYSEKSAN/Associated PressCisco says it is moving ahead with its $6 billion upgrade of its Cisco Catalyst firewalls, but it is also putting a lot of work into making them smarter.

The company said Thursday it is rolling out an open source firewall called Catalyst 5.1 that will allow for “more advanced filtering, security and automation.”

The company will begin releasing the software later this month.

The move follows a $3.6 billion investment by Cisco in 2015 to upgrade Cisco Catalyst 5, Cisco’s software that supports firewalling, security, and monitoring.

This upgrade will allow Cisco Catalyst to run more quickly and offer new capabilities.

“The new Catalyst 5 is an open platform, enabling third parties to contribute, develop and deliver the best products for the business,” Cisco CEO John Chambers said in a statement.

“Cisco Catalyst 5 represents the future of Cisco products and services and is an important step forward in the evolution of our business.”

The company also says it will make its Catalyst 5 open source.

“Today, Cisco is an active contributor to open source software,” Chambers said.

“As we continue to work with the Open Source Alliance to ensure the continued evolution of the Catalyst 5 platform, we are open to new contributions and enhancements.”