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Enabling the Branch for the Mobile Cloud Era

This week at Interop New York, Cisco launched to its customers and partners advancements in access routing to help partners transform businesses’ networks to support cloud and mobile solutions – the new Cisco ISR 4000 Series. This new series powers the Cisco Intelligent WAN (IWAN) to deliver an end-to-end solution that aids bandwidth constraints of aging networks. This transforms the entire network down to the branch level.

In case you missed our partner event about the latest news, be sure to visit the partner page for a replay of the partner webcast and additional information. You can also check out our short video, which summarizes everything into a quick overview.

The next several years provide a huge sales opportunity. This is a true win-win situation for partners. You win with significant up-sell opportunities. Your customers win with simple, seamless, and secure IT management for their network infrastructures. Read More »

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Apple’s Vote of Confidence for Voice and Text over Wi-Fi

I recently had the pleasure to read an excellent article by one of our industry’s leading analysts, Mr. Gabriel Brown of Heavy Reading titled “Analyzing Apple & VoLTE”. In this article, he makes the observation, that Apple – which is well known for keeping a strong focus towards their customer’s enjoying a high quality of experience – has included Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in their newest iPhones.  Mr. Brown goes on to quite rightly note that by including VoLTE, Apple makes the case that mobile operators now need an IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem (IMS core) and a functioning VoLTE service.

Figure 1: Cisco VNI Global Mobile Data Forecast 2013-2018

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While I absolutely agree that Apple has provided a strong endorsement to VoLTE by including support for this feature, I believe that the Apple iPhone6 support for Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) and Text over Wi-Fi maybe as important (or more so).  Let me explain.  VoLTE is really a fact of life, it is going to happen and as long as a cell phone supports LTE it will be able to make or receive VoLTE calls as long as the carrier implements to network accordingly.  However, Wi-Fi has long been maligned as the poor step-child of mobile broadband.  Mostly because it is unruly (unlicensed) and anyone can deploy it (don’t have to be a carrier).  And while the distance limitations and handoffs (Wi-Fi to 3G or to LTE) play a big role too those issues are being addressed (at least by Cisco).  However, several reports, including Cisco’s own well regarded Visual Networking Index (VNI) for Global Mobile Data Traffic, show that mobile data usage over Wi-Fi is over 40% in 2013.  In fact, it is projected that there will be more traffic offloaded from cellular networks onto Wi-Fi than remain on cellular networks by 2018 (that’s less than four years away).

This news is not Read More »

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Visualizing a String of Paerls

Researchers from the Cisco Talos Security Intelligence and Research Team recently discovered an elaborate attack dubbed the String of Paerls. The attack, a combined spearphishing and exploit attempt, was able to bypass most antivirus engines and used a targeted phishing email that included a malicious Word document attachment. Upon opening the Word attachment, a macro downloaded and launched an executable on the victim’s machine, which then called out to command and control servers.

In the graphic below you can see an illustration of each of the major steps of the attack. A common thread is that Cisco security provides protection against attacks like this one using the approach of integrated threat defense. Specifically, Advanced Malware Protection tools were used throughout the discovery and analysis process to expose the exploit.

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For a complete play-by-play of this attack, read the String of Paerls blog post from Talos. For more about integrated threat defense in our products, see the new Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services.

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The Evolution and Impact of Collaboration Technologies

As I sit here on an airplane en-route to San Jose with my MacBook Pro at hand, heading to an industry-leading networking event (albeit on my own time, yes – this is officially vacation), I’ve found myself reflecting on collaboration technologies and how I’ve seen them evolve in the short 15 years I’ve been working with them. After all, it has become one of those things that I spend the majority of my day doing these days, working as a partner engineer specializing in Collaboration.

One of my first experiences with collaboration technologies was back during my third IT job, sometime circa 2001, only a few short years after the Cisco acquisition of Selsius networks brought the Call Manager product to us, and I was working for a company supporting what we now call ‘telepresence’; back then we simply referred to it as  ‘video conferencing’. These immersive environments (calling them ‘life-size’, as we did back then, seems kind of silly now) were not all that different from what you see today; projectors, nice furniture, and an executive meeting room experience. Read More »

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Networking Goes Social

As you probably know, networking can bring your career to a new level. Who you meet can open a variety of doors – you’re able to meet new clients, gain referrals, meet future peers, find a mentor, or begin a new partnership. The possibilities are endless.

Gone are the days where you would print out a stack of business cards and keep them in your wallet to hand out wherever you go. Now, with the digital age, your business card is your social presence. Interacting with someone digitally is the new norm; connecting with a colleague on LinkedIn, tweeting at your favorite brand or company, sharing your favorite articles on Facebook – these are all ways to network from right behind the keyboard.

Networking Goes Social

So, what’s the benefit of getting active on social networks? Here are my top three benefits for taking your networking skills to the computer:

Reach Brands Directly. Many brands are active on social media and are curious about how their customers and partners are using their products. Use this to your advantage and start a conversation about their latest launch, an article they posted, or good customer service. They’ll likely respond back with a follow-up question or a kind note as a way to thank you for reaching out.

Save Time and Money. While you should continue to go to live events when possible, you can network through social channels whenever and wherever you go. You can reach out to brands on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn through your phone or desktop without the hefty price tag that comes with traveling.

Interact with Industry Leaders. If you refer to an article written by an industry leader, tag them by using @[their handle]. On Twitter, for example, many company executives and brands will favorite or retweet your post as a way of engaging back. It’s a way of interacting with people you might otherwise not get the chance to.

Have you started networking online? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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