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3 Myths of the Cisco Cloud Services Router 1000v

The Cloud Services Router 1000V continues to gain momentum as the virtualized routing and VPN platform for securely connecting your users and branch offices to the cloud. There are a number of public cloud providers offering different levels of functionality at different prices and selecting the right one that meets your needs can be a daunting task. After all, you are placing your most valuable asset, your IT services, in the hands of a third party so selecting the right one is almost like selecting a nanny for your child. Do you go with someone new and dynamic or someone who is more experienced with a good reputation? Beyond selecting a cloud provider you need to think about how to integrate the cloud with your existing network. Some of the questions to consider: Read More »

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Massive Increase in Reconnaissance Activity – Precursor to Attack?

November 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm PST

Update 2013-11-12Watch our youtube discussion

Update 2013-11-05: Upon further examination of the traffic we can confirm that a large percentage is destined for TCP port 445. This is indicative of someone looking for nodes running SMB/DCERPC. With that in mind it is extremely likely someone is looking for vulnerable windows machines or it is quite possible that the “soon to be” attackers are looking for boxes compromised by a specific malware variant.

On 2013-11-02 at 01:00 UTC Cisco saw a massive spike in TCP source port zero traffic for three hours. This was the largest spike of reconnaissance activity we’ve seen this year. TCP source port zero is a reserved port according to the RFC and it should not be used. Customers who see port zero activity on their network should consider the traffic suspicious and investigate the source.

pscan

This graph displays the magnitude of the number of sensors logging this activity. Normally we see a magnitude of less than 20, this increased five fold on 2013-11-02. There was also an associated massive increase in the volume of traffic observed by signature 24199-0.

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The Internet of Things opens up new energy management opportunities

There was a point in time when classrooms had one, maybe two things to plug in – most likely an overhead projector. When teachers were done teaching for the day, it was powered down to make sure electricity was not wasted. Over the years, the number of devices needed per individual has exploded as the Internet of Things becomes a reality. From schools and hospitals to technology companies, the number of things that are plugged in has gone largely unaddressed and has ballooned into the last and largest unmanaged IT expense.

Visibility is key to addressing this issue. It’s unrealistic to expect individuals to power down their devices when not in use. At the same time, we’ve found that a single work place device is left powered on for an average of 8,000 hours over the course of its use but only actually utilized 25-50% of the time Read More »

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There’s No Place Like (a Connected) Home

It doesn’t take long to realize it’s going to be one of those days.

You drag out of bed, bleary-eyed after a bad night’s sleep in a stuffy, overheated room. Desperately in need of a caffeine jolt, you then discover that you’re out of coffee. You turn on the TV but are too harried to take in the morning news. Rushing out of the house, late, you suddenly can’t find your keys. A mad, time-wasting search ensues before you drive off to work, finally. Then, stuck in traffic, your mind begins to fret: Did you turn off the TV? Turn out the lights? Water the plants? Lock the door?

Now, imagine the same morning routine in a home enabled by the Internet of Everything (IoE), the explosion in connectivity that is transforming the world as we know it.

You wake up rested, since the temperature, air quality, and lighting in your bedroom have been carefully synchronized to your sleep patterns. You tap your smartphone to start up the coffee machine and turn on some light morning music. During a short but vigorous pre-breakfast workout, the temperature in your home gym drops automatically. Later, a sensor tells you exactly where you left your car keys the night before, just as a separate prompt informs you that the plants are fine — except for the thirsty hibiscus, which you water on your way out.

You don’t need to lock the house or turn off the appliances; a proximity sensor detects when you leave the house, locks and shuts off everything, and then sends an alert message to your car’s central screen. There’s no traffic, because your (connected) car is managed through the best routes — and finding a (connected) parking space is a breeze. During the morning meeting, the refrigerator tweets from home: milk and coffee are low. But not to worry — it has automatically ordered fresh cartons of your favorite brands from the local retailer.

131104_Connected_Home_JB_2

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Got Mobility? Check. Now What?

November 4, 2013 at 9:16 am PST

The mobility discussion isn’t fresh off the presses. BYOD isn’t something you have to look up to remember what the D represents. But much of the business-mobility discussion still focuses around smartphones and basic access. It’s a pretty limited view when you consider the potential beyond the petri dish of e-mail and calendaring.

mochachip

Take me to your keyboard…

Having access to my work e-mail and calendar on my smartphone is good stuff. As is having my choice of phones. And even the simple tools benefit my productivity, while letting me have a life beyond my job. Surprise, surprise: Sometimes “work happens” outside the normal work hours of my particular time zone. And, yes, “life happens” during my normal work hours.

I could be productive on a laptop from home, but my dog would soon gnaw through my keyboard in protest. (Hastened by prodding from my kid and a jar of peanut butter.) But she doesn’t mind if I check and answer e-mail at the dog park.

She’s a pretty advanced dog. She even accepts the need for instant messaging and an occasional WebEx conference, although her presence typically requires liberal use of the mute button.

Beyond the Basics
So, what’s missing? Once people get over the novelty of e-mail and calendaring, they look for more. If they can slingshot birds across the universe, book airline flights, and deposit checks on these pocket-sized supercomputers, shouldn’t they be able to do more?

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