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Cisco 2014 Midyear Security Report: Exposing Weak Links to Strengthen the Security Chain

The Cisco 2014 Midyear Security Report has been released, diving into threat intelligence and cybersecurity trends for the first half of 2014.

You may be thinking, “What could have possibly changed since January?” True to form, the attacker community continues to evolve, innovate, and think up new ways to discover and exploit weak links in the security chain. Also true to form, they sometimes simply use tried and true methods to exploit some of the same old vulnerabilities that continue to present themselves. The 2014 Midyear Security Report hits on all aspects and once again illustrates that in the age of the Internet of Things, as the attack surface grows, so too grow the number of attacks, the types of attacks, and the impacts of these attacks. Read More »

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IT Services Faster!

Most of us expect immediate delivery both as consumers and as employees. As employees, we are no longer willing to wait weeks for IT to deliver what we need. IT departments feel the pain that ensues from our urgency in the form of shadow IT.  Shadow IT results in the double trouble of higher risk and cost from a weaker ability to enforce compliance and best practices when users stray to acquire their own IT services.

What’s that? You believe if you add more staff to address this issue it goes away? You may provide more services but at the same slower pace while increasing operational costs and decreasing operating profits. The key to maintaining IT discipline and delivering services faster is simply a judicious use of integrated automation and management.  It dramatically increases your staff’s ability to execute quickly -- to IT standards.

Cisco UCS Director is that missing piece that your staff needs to deliver services faster.  It helps your staff deliver more services in minutes--not days or weeks.  It lets your staff spend time to align IT with the business, instead of manually spinning up systems--and that’s what we all want. Read More »

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Behind the Network @ Mobile World Congress 2014: Hotspot 2.0

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014 was the largest mobile industry exhibition in the world, where over 1800 companies showcased and launched their latest products and services. This event was visited by over 85,000 attendees from over 200 countries around the world, to learn, network, inspire and innovate. Providing them seamless and robust data network was the first priority. GSMA , Fira de Gran Via and Cisco took this challenge to provide them next generation Wi-Fi experience with seamless connectivity and onboarding using Hotspot 2.0 service on the top of baseline free Wi-Fi service.

Hassle and risk are the two key factors involved in connecting free public Wi-Fi. When you are traveling in the different countries, you get off the plane and turn on your cell phone… and within few seconds you get connected to the cellular network. There is no need to search for a suitable network manually (hoping it’s not rigged by a hacker), then enter long password or credit card details to pay for the service. But unfortunately connecting to Wi-Fi is not that simple. Hotspot 2.0 Service addresses these problems by automatic network discovery and selection, seamless network access and secured authentication for the Passpoint certified devices.

mwc1Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, the venue of MWC 2014 is a massive 280,000 meters2 (Three Million Square Feet) facility with 8 grand exhibition halls, conference rooms, multiple outdoor areas and restaurants. Read More »

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The Future of Cloud, Part 7: The Fabric Between the Clouds

(This is part 7 of a 7-part series sharing insights from Cisco partners about the Future of Cloud.)

During CiscoLive!, I had the chance to talk with Andy Bird, Executive Director, Product Management and Development at eLoyalty, a Cisco partner for more than 15 years.  “We’ve chosen to partner up with Cisco and have a Cisco Powered cloud that allows us to offer stable and scalable solutions.  We’ve built a front end around them that offers the simplicity that customers expect from a cloud-based service.”

To verify that eLoyalty would be able to deliver on the promises of Cisco Powered services, they had to achieve certifications and pass a third-party audit.  “It’s important that we’re enterprise-grade. That audit allowed us to get to that point.”

Bird described several of the complications involved in the integration of technology: multi-tenancy, permissions-based clouds, security, self-administration.  “These things become a big deal,” he said.  “Having Cisco on the back end enables us to not have to worry about the core.”

Bird also talked about the value of the Cisco Intercloud to eLoyalty.  “There are a lot of disparate clouds out there.  But imagine trying to take your data from one cloud and move it to the next.  It’s very difficult to do, because when you look at clouds, you end up getting hooked into them, just like if you were to buy premise gear.

“What Cisco has been starting to enable to happen is the idea of creating a fabric between the clouds that allows me to migrate data.  When somebody gets on my platform, they have the ability to go and leverage Cisco in other places.  So they have a different level of confidence.”

Cisco’s partner ecosystem also plays an important role to eLoyalty.  “Even though I’ve got Cisco at the core, I still have all of these peripheral, secondary, tertiary applications to make seamless and ubiquitous.  But I’m not going to build my own WFN and QM.  I’m not going to develop my own CTI integration.  I’m using that entire ecosystem that Cisco has paved the way for.

“My value is that I bring them all together.”

You can learn more about how providers are addressing the need for enterprise class services in the latest edition of Unleashing IT.

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Breakaway Business Outcomes across the Manufacturing Value Chain

My colleague Kevin Davenport was quoted in a recent AutomationWorld article “Connecting Expertise along Supply Chain,” highlighting a number of use case scenarios where mobile advisor and remote expert solutions for manufacturing can and have enhanced business performance and outcomes across the supply chain. These improvements include:

  • Greater field service effectiveness and reduce warranty costs—by offering real-time, scheduled, or impromptu access to SMEs via a pervasive video platform;
  • Stronger supplier relationships— by establishing effective, immersive B2B TelePresence conferencing;
  • New products to market faster, with a improved product launch processes—by using video-immersive collaboration to foster dynamic cross-business unit and development supply chain integration; and
  • Higher velocity, more effective response to plant-floor issues through fast deployment of both internal and external technical and SME support.

Examples include Jabil, Coca Cola, Puma, and our most recently featured IoE customer case study example with Stanley Black & Decker (SB&D), which demonstrates how Cisco Connected Factory Wireless capabilities, in concert with AeroScout Industrial real-time location services, are used to pinpoint issues—alongside people-and-process context—for much quicker resolution, yielding double-digit throughput and productivity improvements. Check out this video, for more on the SB&D case and results:

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