Security a high note in Cisco's Q4 earnings

Chuck Robbins
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, shown here at Cisco Live earlier this year, says during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call that security is one of Cisco's top priorities. (FierceTelecom)

Cisco's security business was one of the highlights during its fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday.

Cisco reported security revenues of $627 million in the quarter, an increase of 12% from the same quarter a year ago. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins touted the importance of security by saying Cisco was "the largest network and enterprise security company," according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

Robbins said on the earnings call that "security continues to be our customers' number one concern and it is a top priority for us." Roberts pointed to Cisco's $2.35 billion deal to purchase Duo Security earlier this month as further proof of the company's commitment to security.

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"This quarter we saw continuous strong momentum with revenue again accelerating and growing double digits year-over-year," Robbins said in regards to security revenues. "Our focus is on delivering cloud security solutions that provide ease of use, scalability and protect end users."

Cisco also moved the software ball downfield in its latest results as it transitions away from being a pure play hardware company. Cisco's application software business revenues were up by 10% to $1.34 billion in the quarter.

RELATED: Cisco's Robbins: No, we're not a subscription software company

Also of note, Cisco's service provider division posted a 6% increase in revenue compared to the same quarter a year ago. Cisco's third-quarter service provider revenue was down 4% year-over-year. Robbins said the service provider business was dominated by large customers, which leads to quarterly revenue swings.

"When we have several of them that are slowing their spending, it looks bad, and when we have several of them that are spending, it looks good," he said.

Robbins said that Cisco's transition to intent-based networking and automation have been successful to date. Going forward, Robbins said that Cisco planned to bring new products to market, particularly in the enterprise networking space, and across its portfolio, which will also apply the same software and automation strategies.

On the 5G front, Robbins said that despite the hype at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, Cisco doesn't expect 5G to have an immediate impact this year. 5G will start to ramp up next year before taking off in earnest in 2020, according to Robbins.