What is Splunk in Cybersecurity? Cisco’s Recent Acquisition

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FAQs

What is Splunk in Cybersecurity? Splunk is a software company that provides a comprehensive suite of solutions that spans from a full-fledged cloud platform to tools designed for monitoring microservices. Featuring its proprietary scripting language known as SPL (Splunk Processing Language), Splunk delivers top-tier capabilities for managing, searching, and visualizing machine-generated data for proactive decision-making.

Is Splunk a SIEM? Splunk brands their SIEM as “Splunk Enterprise Security,” which is complemented by a range of products that go beyond the traditional capabilities of a SIEM.

How much did Cisco acquire Splunk for? Cisco ($CSCO) struck a deal to buy Splunk ($SPLK) for 28 billion, or $157 a share, which is a 30% premium to Splunk’s current market evaluation.

Was Splunk a profitable company? Splunk has not been profitable in any year of the last decade, despite possessing great growth metrics and a loyal customer base.

What is Cisco’s main business? Cisco specializes in network hardware and IT services.


The cybersecurity market was buzzing with the announcement of Cisco’s acquisition of industry leader Splunk, a move that represented more than 10% of Cisco’s market share. It is uncommon for a legacy company like Cisco to finalize such a blockbuster deal, but this strategic acquisition aligns with their recent track record.

In 2023 they have acquired:

  • Valtix – A cloud network security solutions that enable customers to manage all major public cloud environments from a single panel.
  • Lightspin – Provides cloud-native resources with end-to-end Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) using a graph-based approach to visualize contexts.
  • Armorblox – Uses machine learning models to offer custom threat detection policies that analyze thousands of advanced signals to protect against threats targeting the human layer.
  • Oort – A major player in Identity Threat Detection and Response (ITDR) technology, they provide solutions to eliminate identity visibility gaps across various data sources.
  • PINACL (intent to acquire) – A multi-vendor firewall policy management solution that enhances security for complex firewall deployments.

Cisco has recently adopted an assertive approach towards acquiring new technologies, with a particular focus on cybersecurity solutions. This is evident from six of their recent acquisitions being related to cybersecurity.

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In contrast to the past two years, when they completed only eight acquisitions in total, Cisco has already acquired 11 companies this year alone. This aggressive strategy highlights Cisco’s commitment to expanding and strengthening its presence in the cybersecurity sector.

Alright, let’s get into what Splunk is and how it will mesh with Cisco’s already diverse set of platforms.

What is Splunk?

Managing a large IT infrastructure is a challenge that demands substantial investments in appropriate tools, and Splunk stands out as a comprehensive solution for addressing these challenges. Splunk offers a range of solutions from managing vast fleets of devices to analyzing hundreds of gigabytes of server files.

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Splunk can accept virtually any type of data, whether it’s router and switch logs, firewall records, IDS alerts, or Windows and Linux logs. It stands as one of the most dynamic tools on the market.

One of the key strengths of Splunk is its ability to process and deliver a wide range of log formats directly to your dashboard. It can handle massive amounts of data and provide clear overviews, efficient reports, and alerts for any anomalies that may arise. It excels in its ability to digest data and provide useful insights.

Splunk also extends its capabilities to the cloud. With more organizations transitioning their operations to the cloud, Splunk can help maintain full visibility over the infrastructure.

Splunk provides 360-degree monitoring capabilities integrated with machine learning to alert for potential outages. These tools benefit both modern and legacy IT environments by reducing blind spots within the infrastructure.

Undoubtedly, Splunk is a powerful tool, but it comes with a price. It operates on a subscription-based payment model that may require a substantial investment.

Splunk Products

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Platforms

  • Splunk Cloud Platform – A SaaS platform with a backend managed by Splunk’s IT team, allowing companies to concentrate on using the platform’s data analytics tools.
  • Splunk Enterprise – Similar dashboards and analytics tools to those on the cloud platform, with the distinction that you maintain control over the infrastructure.
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Security

  • Splunk Attack Analyzer – Fully automated end-to-end threat analysis with insights and response suggestions.
  • Splunk Enterprise Security (SIEM) – Analytics driven SIEM with advanced ML threat detection and extensible data platform.
  • Splunk Mission Control – Enhancing the efficiency of SOCs (security operation centers) by structuring workflows into templates.
  • Splunk Security Essentials – A free security tool that leverages a content library to offer contextual insights into a company’s security stance.
  • Splunk SOAR – SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation and Response) automates manual tasks to immediately address alerts and establish standardized procedures.
  • Splunk User Behavior Analytics – Use machine learning to uncover and defend against previously undetected threats, filling gaps that conventional tools might overlook.
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Observability

  • Splunk Application Performance Monitoring – Easily identify any performance changes, errors, or anomalies across your application, whether it is a giant application or microservices architecture.
  • Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring – Offering complete visibility and real-time actionable alerts to maximize infrastructure performance.
  • Splunk IT Service Intelligence – ML and predictive analytics prevent issues before they wreak havoc on a system.
  • Splunk Real User Monitoring (RUM) – Improve customer experience by identifying and addressing issues that have a direct impact on customers.
  • Splunk On-Call – A centralized hub for alerts and messaging across all Splunk products, enabling faster incident resolution for teams.
  • Splunk Synthetic Monitoring – Improve the digital experience, optimize content delivery, and quickly resolve performance issues throughout user flows.

Splunk Considerations

Splunk is more than just a single-function tool, it hosts a comprehensive suite of solutions suitable for nearly any scenario. Among these solutions is Splunk’s Enterprise Security Solutions which is their take on a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM). While its data querying methods may not differ significantly from other top-tier SIEMs, it stands apart with its unique scripting language.

Splunk’s ability to manipulate and visualize data in innovative ways gives them an edge up on the competition. IT professionals should not be subject to the inefficient workflow of querying logs, exporting data, and using separate tools for visualization. A well-executed Splunk search can achieve all these tasks in a single step.

However, it’s essential to recognize that Splunk alone cannot address all your security challenges. It requires skilled personnel who can harness its capabilities to the fullest. Gaining confidence in crafting efficient searches and comprehending the platform’s diverse opportunities may take some time.

Successfully implementing Splunk tools requires a team well-versed in the platform. Equally important is the quality of the data fed into Splunk. If it isn’t clean and valuable, deriving meaningful insights from it becomes a challenge.

Why did Cisco Acquire Splunk?

The Splunk acquisition allows Cisco to integrate this powerful cybersecurity solution into its hardware offerings.

Recently, the cloud infrastructure sector has been encroaching on the market for networking equipment. In the past, many organizations and individuals would invest and manage their own networking equipment, such as servers, routers, and switches. This allowed them to have full control over their network infrastructure.

However, cloud services now allow businesses and individuals to access computing resources and networking infrastructure on a subscription basis.

In response to this industry shift, Cisco has been taking proactive steps to diversify its revenue streams. This includes a series of aggressive acquisitions of software companies, positioning itself to adapt and thrive in this evolving landscape.

The monumental deal undeniably carries certain risks, particularly given that it marks Cisco’s most significant acquisition to date, and the integration of two colossal companies is no small feat. However, despite these inherent risks, it has the potential for substantial rewards in the future. With this acquisition, Cisco has rapidly transformed into a cybersecurity juggernaut, poised to provide a suite of solutions that is nearly unmatched.

Conclusion

The acquisition of Splunk is set to finalize in the latter half of 2024 and has already sent shockwaves through the tech sector. This monumental transaction marks the largest in Cisco’s nearly four-decade history, signaling a potential shift in the tech giant’s business strategy. The rise of cloud infrastructure has eroded the market share of traditional IT equipment, compelling Cisco to explore alternative revenue sources.

Splunk incorporates machine learning capabilities into its suite of tools to enhance data analysis, once again bringing AI into the news. Splunk’s innovative approach, coupled with its dedicated and expanding user base, has positioned Cisco as a formidable player in the realm of cybersecurity.