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Cisco in the Cloud: Consistency is the Key

Trust is built with consistency.  This axiom is certainly true of Cisco’s credibility with customers in the cloud computing space, where Cisco is investing to ensure enterprise customers are able to rapidly build private clouds, or to procure Cisco Powered cloud services from our Cloud Service Provider partners, who, in turn, are using Cisco technology to build their public clouds. 

Recognition of our consistency in the cloud market is reflected in multiple ways, including third party corroboration. To that end, Cisco’s momentum in the cloud market is illustrated by findings from three  industry analyst reports:

After being named the number 1 company customers used most often for professional services related to cloud in an IDC survey of US customers earlier this summer, Cisco was recently named a global “Major Player” the first time we were invited to participate in IDC’s  MarketScape Report, Worldwide Cloud Professional Services 2013 Vendor Analysis.  And the latest Q2 data from Synergy Research Group shows that Cisco continues to maintain a number 1 position in the Cloud Infrastructure Market.

 “After steadily and consistently building its share in this market, Cisco has done well to hold onto its newly-won lead,” said Jeremy Duke, Synergy Research Group’s founder and Chief Analyst.

This strong combination of leadership in cloud infrastructure and in cloud professional services underscores Cisco’s commitment to consistently deliver businesses the foundation to deploy differentiated cloud services at a lower business risk.

No one can argue that cloud computing is accelerating IT business value, and cloud technology investments are increasing at a rapid pace in nearly every industry segment.   At Cisco, we remain committed to maintaining our consistency in delivering what our customers require.  A big part of that commitment is enabling IT to aggregate, integrate, customize, and deliver an expanded set of services to the business utilizing a mix of Cisco-enabled private cloud services and Cisco Powered public cloud services, paving the way to a hybrid cloud sourcing strategy for customers.

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Cisco STEM Mentoring Events Aim to Inspire Students

By 2018, it is estimated there will be 1.2 million U.S. job openings in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. While that sounds like good news, there is an acute shortage of qualified applicants to fill these jobs. The students in our schools today simply don’t have the skills and desire needed to compete for these jobs, which means that our country won’t have the necessary workforce to fill critical roles in one of the strongest sectors of the economy.

Research shows that for kids to become interested in STEM careers, they must feel inspired. They need some sort of connection or a role model to look to for guidance. This is where Cisco sees a need that can be filled by its employees.

Cisco is a founding leadership partner of US2020, an all-hands-on-deck initiative that aims to connect more STEM professionals to students from kindergarten through college. As part of the US2020 initiative, Cisco will build on the expertise of its workforce and culture of giving back, with the goal of having 20 percent or more of employees volunteering at least 20 hours a year as STEM mentors by the year 2020.

Cisco's US2020 mentoring initiative gets underway in San Jose, California

Cisco’s US2020 mentoring initiative gets underway in San Jose, California

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Reminder – Join Us Live Today From InteropNY

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Yesterday Cisco announced a couple of new technologies -- a new 802.11ac Access Point, a new converged wired+wireless Catalyst Switch, and more -- but the announcement that generate

d quite a bit of buzz beyond networking circles was a new partnership with Facebook.  This solution --  CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi - is part of a broader announcement of new partnerships around the Connected Mobile Experiences ecosystem.

The Cisco Partner Ecosystem enables organizations to customize applications and services.  This customization can be applied to deliver location-aware guest access, device-based services, browser-based services, customized mobile applications, online and onsite analytics, social analytics, and advertisements.

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Ten Simple Ways to Enhance Cyber Security for You and Others

October 3, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

Hi there and welcome to today’s U.S. National Cyber Security Awareness Month tip, courtesy of those of us involved in administering and/or contributing to Cisco Security Intelligence Operations!!

For all of you savvy technologists and those well versed in the security realm many of these tips may be old hat but, based on many of my discussions with both personal and professional peers, I know that most, if not all, of these Best Common Practices (BCPs) are not exactly “common.”  :-)

  1. Use non-trivial passwords - While most sites and applications now dictate requirements (lower/upper alphabetical, numerical, symbols, minimum length) for passwords, there are still those that rely on the user to utilize complex passwords. Password selection brings with it a challenging dichotomy -- on one hand we are  being told (and sometimes forced!) to use complex not-so-easy-to-guess passwords and on the other hand we are expected to be able to remember all of these passwords without writing them down and sticking them on our laptop! Check out Numeric Password Follies and Keep passwords safe and secure with password management for some information from previous Cisco Security Blog posts that may help you choose and manage your passwords more effectively.
  2. And now that we have finally chosen an acceptable complex password, and we have been able to commit it to memory!, we now have to make sure we Change Our Passwords Regularly!  :-)  You will find that many of your “more secure” sites implement a specific time frame, e.g., 30 or 60 days, after which time you _must_ change your password. For all those sites, applications, and situations in which this is not the case, it is HIGHLY recommended that you take the proactive approach and manually change your password regularly. It shouldn’t be that hard -- just create a repeating reminder in your daily calendar to help you remember to change your passwords!
  3. And while on the subject of passwords, here’s another recommended best practice! Don’t use the same password everywhere!!!  Again, our minds can only contain so many passwords (in addition to everything we need to remember on a daily basis) and things like passwords probably fall to the bottom of our priorities, so use a password manager tool. Because we often take the easy way out and, once we’ve developed that very complex, non-trivial password that we discussed in our first tip, we hang on to it for dear life and use it EVERYWHERE! Bad move! There are few days that go by in the security world where we don’t come across a hack or data breach that was helped along the way by the fact that so many people use the same passwords for both personal and professional sites and applications. Several examples of these breaches can be found in these previous Cisco Security Blog posts: July, a Busy Month for BreachesCompromised Accounts, Stepping Stones, and 6.5 million password hashes suggest a possible breach at LinkedIn.
  4. If it looks like phish and “smells” like phish it probably is phish - Do NOT open emails that appear “phishy” – go directly to the known website of the supposed sender of the email. You should also be careful clicking links in emails from known contacts that do not have human-looking text from your friend. For example, be leery of emails which contain nothing but one URL/link or emails that start out with text such as “open this, it is funny.” Agree with your friend to send something he knows that will identify him when he sends a single link. For example ask him her to put in “I was born in XXX, July 1934″ or what team he supports.
  5. Keep your operating system (OS) and application software up to date. Many OS vendors, e.g., Microsoft, provide automated means of updating software on a regular basis, so take advantage of this offering if your vendor provides it. It is certainly understandable that probably a great many of you have important devices and simply cannot take the chance with automated updates, but for those with less mission-critical concerns it is a worthwhile practice to use automatic software updates. The Cisco Security Intelligence Operations portal includes a section devoted to security alerts affecting both Cisco and non-Cisco products.
  6. Have your “social engineering” guard up at all times.  For many of us, the combination of our personalities and lack of time causes us to become more trustworthy and accepting all invitations - whether by email, phone call, or text - on their surface.  What we need to do when working online is put on our “tinfoil hat” and simply not trust anyone! So, when you get that next email soliciting you to “click on the link” to resolve a banking dispute think twice, do NOT click on that link, and then log in directly to the website of your bank (or call them) and resolve that “issue” the proper way. Clicking on links sent to you via email or text could cause you to inadvertently and unknowingly provide login credentials and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to the bad guys. Check out Levi Gundert’s recent post on how the loss (or theft) of PII can impact you.
  7. While Anti Virus (AV) Software is certainly not a silver bullet and probably won’t stop some of today’s more complex threats, it is still a useful tool to have in our security toolbox both for our corporate and personal devices. Although most corporate IT departments push out updates regularly to our professional devices, we need to also ensure that the AV Software running on our home and personal devices is kept current and is regularly updated.
  8. Understand the security measures that are available (and not available!) for social networking sites and applications. Many of you and your peers use some form of social networking -- e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. -- and it is imperative that you are aware of what information gets shared and what mechanisms are available to you to restrict access to the data you want shared to only those people with whom you wish to share! You would probably be surprised to find out that the data that gets shared, both freely and inadvertently, is often leveraged for malfeasance such as phishing emails!
  9. Who you gonna call? Know who and how to report any suspect network security incidents, i.e., phishing, spam, malware, DoS, etc. This recommendation may border on the nebulous but it is really important, whether you are on your personal device at home or on a corporate device, that you know that there are resources available should you come across activity, e.g., phishing emails, evidence of DDoS attack activities, etc., that you can contact to get assistance. This could be your ISP, your corporate IT department, Help Desk, Information Security (InfoSec) department, or even a friend or coworker.
  10. Be vigilant and stay abreast of cyber security news! Regardless of your role and your technical acumen, find at least one source of security intelligence to monitor via RSS, email, Twitter, or by just directly visiting websites. Please visit the Cisco SIO portal, which includes a variety of information such as security alerts, blog posts, technical white papers, best common practices, and upcoming security conferences. Some additional recommended sources of this information include CERTNANOGFull DisclosureBugtraqSANS Internet Storm Center (ISC), and Krebs on Security…..to name a few.

My call to action to all of you is to go out there and work together to make our cyber world just a little bit safer - one byte, one email, one phish, and one website at a time!

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Growing up with Sensors and Smart Devices: How will the Internet of Everything Impact Our Children?

“Growing up is never easy. You hold onto things that were. You wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come.”  - The Wonder Years

I’ve always liked this quote from one of the best TV shows of all time. And in an age where things are constantly changing, it’s never been more relevant. Today’s grandparents and parents spent their childhood in a world without sensors, smart phones and network capable devices at their fingertips. Our children, however, are growing up in a drastically new world. A world where everything is instant, where networked devices are part of their everyday lives and technology is in everything they do. This world enables unlimited potential and unlimited connections that can impact a child’s life for the better. So how will the Internet of Everything (IoE) prepare children for the smart people network they will live, learn, work and play in?

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