by  Michael Cooney

Cisco has taken a big step forward with its first network-as-a-service offering that ultimately will let customers buy enterprise-network hardware and software components on an as-needed basis.

The company announced the service, called Cisco Plus,  at its virtual Cisco Live 2021! conference, telling customers its NaaS will offer best-in-class networking, security, compute, storage, and applications with unified subscriptions that promise to be simple to use.

"Network-as-a-service delivery is a great option for businesses wanting to shift to a cloud operating model that makes its easy and simple to buy and consume the necessary components to improve and grow their businesses," said James Mobley, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Network Services Business Unit.

While Cisco plans in the next few years to introduce what will likely be myriad service options under Cisco Plus, for now it is introducing two flavors.

Security-as-a-service models offer many advantages for organizations including offloading the maintenance of hundreds or thousands of firewalls and other security appliances, said Neil Anderson, senior director of network solutions at World Wide Technology, a technology and supply-chain services provider.

"With SASE, enterprises can consume that from the cloud and let someone else take care of the toil, which frees up their security team to focus on threat vectors and prevention," he said.

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