In the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci set standards for art and technology that still amaze us today. So, it was only fitting that Cisco would establish a Cybersecurity Co-Innovation Center in his beautiful namesake museum in Milan, surrounded by masterworks of painting, sculpture, and invention.
The center was opened in 2019 as part of a Cisco Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) initiative. And it brings together the best talent in technology, academia, and government — to help solve some of the biggest problems in today’s world, among them the sharp rise in cyberthreats and expanding gap in cyberskills.
“We are on track to connect 500 billion new things across the planet between now and 2030,” said Guy Diedrich, who as Cisco’s SVP and global innovation officer also leads CDA and the Cisco Networking Academy. “With the right security, each new connection represents a new opportunity. Without security, each connection is a new vulnerability. It’s that simple.”
The stakes are high. Diedrich believes that security and privacy are human rights issues, disproportionately impacting underserved regions around the world.
“It is our civic duty to ensure that everyone below the security poverty line has a level of safety,” he said.
Fabio Florio, Cisco business development manager for Italy and director of the Milan Co-Innovation Center, stresses that collaboration and partnerships are essential in the center’s quest for new solutions.
“First, we are a co-innovation center, not an innovation center,” he explained. “Co-innovation means that it is not only innovation by Cisco. It’s innovation that we can build and produce together in collaboration with others — customers, partners, startups, universities, research centers, governments, everybody, to find concrete projects where we can work together to improve cybersecurity.”
Education is also key to closing the cyberskills gap. So, the Networking Academy is a prime resource. The largest program of its kind, Networking Academy has empowered more than 17 million students in 190 countries since its inception in 1997 — with 2.7 million specializing in cybersecurity.
“It’s a free training,” Florio explained, “very specialized, but very wide in term of topics. You can cover cybersecurity, IOT systems, networking programming, languages, everything. You can do it online, or you can do it with the teacher. “And the most important thing that networking academy gives you is a certification that has a big value on the market for a student.”
Of course, partnering to prepare businesses for the next level of digital transformation is at the heart of the Center’s mission.
“Organizations have several challenges now because the number of attacks is increasing and becoming more and more sophisticated,” Florio explained. “And security is becoming more and more complex to manage, organizations are using cloud, they have hybrid work, and data privacy is now a matter of business. So, we’re helping them to create the right cybersecurity for this next evolution of IT.”
To learn more about Cisco’s Security solutions, click here.