Sandy Lerner and her husband Leonard Bosack launched Cisco Systems in December 1984. Lerner was the Stanford University Graduate School of Business's director of computer facilities. Bosack oversaw the computers at Stanford University's computer science department.
Cisco's first product was inspired by campus technology at Stanford University. Students and faculty at Stanford, notably Bosack, employed technology on campus in the early 1980s to connect all of the school's computer systems, resulting in the "Blue Box," a box that served as a multiprotocol router. Andy Bechtolsheim designed the hardware for the Blue Box, while William Yeager, a Stanford research engineer, wrote the software. Bosack and Stanford employee Kirk Lougheed began working on a proposal to network Stanford's campus in 1985 formally. Despite Yeager's assertions that he was denied authorization to sell the Blue Box commercially, they converted Yeager's software into what would become the cornerstone for Cisco IOS. Cisco purchased the router software and two computer boards that Stanford had developed in 1987. The early Cisco team was completed by Bosack, Lerner, Lougheed, Greg Satz (a programmer), and Richard Troiano (sales).
Cisco Systems went public on the NASDAQ stock exchange on February 16, 1990, with a market value of $224 million. Cisco was not the first business to build and market dedicated network nodes, but it was one of the first to produce commercially viable routers that supported various network protocols. Lerner was fired on August 28, 1990. Her spouse, Bosack, quit in protest after hearing the news.
Cisco quickly capitalized on the burgeoning service provider sector, launching product lines such as the Cisco 7000 and Cisco 8500. Cisco bought Kalpana, Grand Junction, and, most importantly, Mario Mazzola's Crescendo Communications between 1992 and 1994, becoming the Catalyst business segment.
Cisco has bought several businesses to bring in new products and people. In the years 1995-1996, the corporation made 11 acquisitions. Several purchases, such as Stratacom, were among the most significant in the business. During the Internet boom of 1999, the corporation paid US$7 billion for Cerent Corporation, a startup based in Petaluma, California. It was Cisco's most expensive acquisition, with only the acquisition of Scientific Atlanta being more expensive. In 1999, Cisco purchased a $1 billion interest in KPMG Consulting, allowing Keyur Patel of Fuse to launch the Internet startup Metrius.
Cisco announced the acquisition of Airespace for US$450 million on January 12, 2005, to strengthen its wireless controller product lines. On January 4, 2007, Cisco stated that it would purchase IronPort for $830 million in a deal that closed on June 25, 2007. As a result, IronPort was absorbed into the Cisco Security division. In October 2013, Cisco purchased cyber-security firm Sourcefire. Cisco announced the completion of its acquisition of ThreatGRID, a firm that provided dynamic malware analysis and threat intelligence solutions, on June 16, 2014.
Products and services
Cisco's products and services target three market segments: enterprises, service providers, midsize businesses, and small businesses. Over the previous three decades, Cisco has gained popularity in Asia-Pacific, and it is now the leading vendor in the Australian market, with leadership in all market segments. Its Australian office serves as one of the region's key headquarters.
Cisco Systems also offers a set of IT certifications for Cisco products. There are four or five levels of certification (path to network designers): entry (CCENT), associate (CCNA/CCDA), professional (CCNP/CCDP), expert (CCIE/CCDE), and recently Architect. Cisco also offers training for these certifications through the Cisco Networking Academy, a web-based resource. Qualifying schools can join the Cisco Networking Academy and offer CCNA and other levels of training.
Cisco products, such as IP phones and Telepresence, have appeared in films and television shows. Something Ventured, a documentary film released in 2011, featured the company.
Cisco received the Ron Brown Award in 2002-03, which the US president gave to organizations "for the excellent quality of their interactions with employees and communities." Cisco ranked number one in Great Place to Work's World's Best Workplaces 2019. Based on an employee satisfaction poll, Fortune magazine rated Cisco Systems fourth on its Fortune List of the Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2020. Cisco was one of the top winners of network security-related patents, according to a report by technology consultancy firm LexInnova.