Four questions for Mario Mazzola, Cisco Systems

Almost ten months ago, I was working on a piece for old-Red Herring’s 10th anniversary issue and got a chance to interact (via email and through PR people) with Mario Mazzola, Chief Development Officer of Cisco Systems. It was a short e-interview which asked Mario to focus on four aspects of telecom industry. The e-interview never ran because Red Herring went out of business.

This past week while cleaning out the archives I came across this transcript and I thought it would be appropriate to share it with you folks.

Mario Mazzola gives an industry snapshot that got us to 2003

bq. The focus of late, obviously, has been on the economic downturn, the slow recovery, and their impact on the networking industry. While it’s difficult to find any positives associated with the downturn, there have been some constructive changes as a result. For one, basic business fundamentals have reappeared as the driver for long-term success. The networking industry has responded by focusing more acutely on technologies and systems that offer a clear return on investment, flexibility for growth and change, and reduced total cost of ownership. This trend for the industry will continue in 2003 to the benefit of businesses and consumers.

Mario Mazzola on the biggest feat or breakthrough that got us to 2003?

bq. Clearly, in terms of the history of networking, the most meaningful breakthrough has been the standardization around Internet Protocol, or IP, communications, which has provided a more flexible and efficient method of delivering data, as well as video and voice. Prior to IP, multiple protocols were in use and ubiquitous internetworking was difficult, if not impossible, to imagine. With the advent and adoption of IP, networking innovation has exploded and, to the benefit of businesses and consumers, made seamless global access to information and real-time communication possible. As we move forward, the continued emphasis on developing standards in the industry will be crucial to stimulating innovation and offering increasing value to businesses and consumers.

Mario Mazzola on the biggest challenge 10 years out for the networking sector?

bq. Security is, and will continue to be, a huge ongoing challenge for the networking sector. As networks become increasingly integral to critical business applications, the ability to have defense in depth against attacks, at every layer of the network on a per port basis, will be critical. It’s no longer enough to just erect a firewall next to your Internet connection to protect your network. Furthermore, as the benefits of networked mobility become a reality, the number of network access points will increase and networks will become more porous. The challenge will be to deploy a sophisticated, comprehensive security system that prevents, detects and protects the network from attacks, but still fully supports all internetworking demands. Fortunately, this is an area of strong innovation, and pervasive, integrated security solutions are in the works, including multiple technologies to keep networks secure, such as IDS (intrusion detection systems), VPNs, firewalls, and authentication, as well as routers and networking products with embedded security features.

Mario Mazzola on telecom landspace in 2013?

bq. As we look ahead, we see additional intelligence migrating into the network to enable secure, global business transactions. This intelligence will allow for greater levels of multi-media data integrity, data movement and data replication as applications become embedded in the network. But, along with that increase in intelligence will come the requirement for greater network manageability and flexibility. Finally, IP communications will evolve and mature into the standard form of communication, increasing the vitality and importance of the intelligent information network and creating multiple new opportunities, for both the networking industry and businesses worldwide. So, even as technologies mature and are absorbed by the business community, the potential for industry innovation will continue to be dynamic and relevant in the future.