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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – December 19, 2014

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

Sherri Liebo posted this week on the Cisco Partner Plus program. Following up on her post about midmarket last month, Sherri provided expanded information on Partner Plus and how partners can take advantage of its three tier system to grow and expand in midmarket.

If you’re interested in learning more about just how this fits into The Cisco Partner Ecosystem, be sure to check out Sherri’s blog, and let us know what you think! Read More »

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Making New Connections In Russia: First-Ever Mobile CCIE Lab Opens in Kazan

The Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to drive network demands and, parallel to this, international needs for skilled networking professionals are on the rise. World Bank Studies estimate that over the next ten years there will be two million unfilled ICT-related jobs globally. To connect the unconnected, it is estimated that 220,000 new engineers are required every year between 2014 and 2022. To meet these growing requirements, Learning@Cisco is constantly on the lookout for ways to partner with higher education institutions and governments worldwide to provide training and certification for in-demand skills. Our CCIE Mobile Labs are one facet of this strategy.

Learning@Cisco recently opened a Mobile CCIE Lab in Kazan, capital of the Republic of Tatarstan (one of Russia’s dozens of regions.) This represents the first CCIE Mobile Lab to ever be offered outside of Cisco premises. It marks the first time the mobile labs have reached Russia’s regions, outside previous operations in Moscow and select locations across the globe.CCIE certifications are of the highest level of achievement for network professionals, which will help Russian IT pros further their careers while also providing Russia with a workforce of highly skilled networking professionals who have the capabilities to help usher in IoE.

The launch and operation of the CCIE Lab will support the additional objective of transforming Kazan into a “smart and safe city.” The President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, is moving rapidly toward his goal of making Kazan the smartest city in Russia and one of the five smartest cities in the world. His strategy is to create a city platform to enhance the interaction between government and citizens by sourcing local solutions by citizens, for citizens. Cisco has partnered with President Minnikhanov, the Mayor of Kazan and the Kazan Federal University in recently opening an Innovation Hub at the University to turn this goal into a reality.

Certification exams will be offered in Kazan for CCIE Routing and Switching, CCIE Security, CCIE Service Provider, CCIE Collaboration and CCIE Data Center (recently added). These one-day exams offered for five days on a quarterly basis provide students greater access to lab testing than they would otherwise have. The fully equipped, eight-hour lab exam provides CCIE students with greater access to lab equipment while also testing their ability to configure actual equipment and get the network running in a timed-test scenario.

In the first mobile lab, held at the beginning of September, we were able to test 12 IT specialists from Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Republic of Tatarstan, and Uzbekistan. The successful launch of the testing lab lends great momentum to the global expansion of our CCIE program and to our focus on improving access to Mobile CCIE Labs. These labs provide a convenient and cost-effective method for students to test for CCIE Routing and Switching, CCIE Security, CCIE Service Provider and CCIE Data Center in areas that do not have permanent lab locations. The Mobile CCIE Lab reduces the need for costly travel; hotel, passport and visa fees; and the need to leave the country to take the CCIE Lab exam. As a result of the successful launch, we will be testing in the mobile lab regularly.

In further support of these initiatives, Wim Elfrink, Cisco’s Executive Vice President, Industry Solutions & Chief Globalization Officer, recently kicked off the University’s first Hackathon in which, after 48 hours of non-stop effort, the nine teams involved created innovative solutions for the city, ranging from Smart Lighting to Smart Bicycle alarm systems to Smart Shop queues. He also addressed 300 eager undergraduates at the Kazan Federal University in Tatarstan on the IoE.

These popular events demonstrated again great interest by the local youth in Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and IoE. That’s good news, because Russia will need a skilled workforce in order to take advantage of IoE’s opportunities. Our studies show that IoE can drive $273 billion of economic benefit over the next decade in Russia. The depth of engineering talent in Russia places them, as a country, in a very strong position to capitalize on this value – and quickly. If other countries want to enjoy their share of IoE’s potential, they would do well to follow Russia’s proactive, right-now example of reskilling current workers and preparing future workers for our interconnected world.

Cloudy with a Chance of Scalable Malware Protection

Cisco CWS The proven value of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, that we all access daily from multiple devices, makes the cloud a reality, but SaaS also creates an environment in which anyone, anywhere in an organization, can be attacked at any time. Modern Networks go beyond traditional walls and include data centers, endpoints, virtual and  mobile – all linked by cloud services. To some the cloud is an attack vector while to others it’s a business enabler. Security as a Service bridges these two definitions to deliver the scale of cloud engines to address security challenges found anywhere in the Modern Network, whether physical, virtual, local or remote.

Two recent stories from our Cloud Web Security (CWS) Service , illustrate the power of the cloud to address security concerns. The first focuses on the sheer processing power we can deliver from our global data center estate, and the second covers the elastic capacity our investment in Next Generation infrastructure provides, ensuring we can turn up the dial when our customers need more bandwidth, delivered securely.

The first example goes to the heart of our latest announcement, demonstrating how the cloud can learn from one environment and quick leverage that learning to improve the security coverage of all customers.  Last week the CWS team release  CWS Premium for advanced threat protection. CWS Premium combines the two distinct services of Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) which examines file reputation, file behavioral analysis, inclusive of sandboxing and retrospective alerting of infected hosts, and Cognitive Threat Analytics (CTA), which uses machine learning to examine traffic patterns for anomalous behavior indicative of compromise. The combination of these two announcements brings enterprise-class advanced threat protection delivered from the cloud and addresses the number one request from our growing global customer base.

During the AMP pilot we learned something about the power of the cloud-delivered service. A beta user submitted an unknown file to the AMP sandbox, a file not known to anyone – external verification showed zero detects. What happened next showed that the file was far from benign and produced a very detailed set of reports and analysis. The high level summary goes like this: Our sandbox discovered that the file was in fact malware, and then classified the file as malicious in the AMP cloud, sending a retrospective alert to the CWS user. This enabled the user to see where the file came from, the behavior of the file over time and what other systems had been infected. Moving outside this customer, with the AMP cloud aware of the malicious nature of this file, over the next 12 hours the file was detected and removed in nine other CWS enterprise customers, without anyone having to make a decision to change policy or reconfigure existing solutions. This demonstrates the closed loop nature of our system, teaching itself and automatically projecting its new knowledge by way of protection to all of our customers – all without human intervention. If those nine customers within the first 12 hours had – at a conservative estimate – 15,000 end points each, that’s 135,000 users protected without anyone actually doing anything. Within 24 hours that number of customers was beyond 30, and the number of estimated end users at almost half a million and no one pushed a button after the original file was submitted to the cloud.

The second example pivots us away from advanced threats and demonstrates the power of the cloud to scale. We are always updating and investing, growing to meet capacity, and recently we became aware that a very popular consumer hardware and software vendor was about to release an upgraded version of its operating system to potentially test that capacity. I can’t name names, but it’s safe to say that fans of the device worldwide were thrilled by news of new software, and were eager to download the update the instant it was released. This posed a number of challenges, particularly for web security services. Traffic volumes after past such events have increased between 15-20% worldwide, which not only places a strain on our customers’ networks but also means our cloud-delivered service has to be ready to process a vast increase in capacity.

How vast an increase?  The daily volume of CWS traffic for this particular update spiked to 16TB. Stop for a moment to imagine 16TB. Imagine a premium Netflix account, streaming 1GB per hour in HD. Now imagine watching 1,000 hours of video, that’s 41 days worth of constantly watching HD movies.  That’s 1TB.  It would take 656 days – almost two years of data streaming at the same rate and about 4,500 movies – to equal 16TB, the same amount of extra data rammed through the global CWS estate in 24 hours with no degradation of service. And that’s 16TB of additional traffic, not counting the rest of the daily web content being processed.

Our mission has been to proactively ensure that CWS customers continued to experience excellent performance from their own networks during the first few days of the update availability, while delivering the stable, high-performing CWS service that customers have come to expect.  We tuned data centers in readiness, advised customers of the impending spike, gave them the option to block the relevant traffic if they chose and we monitored traffic patterns in real time to optimize loads. No support cases raised and no drop in performance. Mission accomplished.

Today’s cyber attacks threaten precious Intellectual Property (IP), valuable customer information and state secrets. You only have to look at the daily news headlines to find about the next  high-profile attack. In fact, Cisco reports stopping an average of 320 million cyber attacks each day, up substantially year over year. That’s like everyone in the US launching a cyber attack each and every day. The web is the attack vector in an increasing number of these cases. To protect valuable resources requires a threat-centric, operational model that is advanced beyond an attacker’s abilities and addresses the extended network and evolving business environment. Whether harnessing cloud power or offering scalability, CWS is a crucial component in enabling organizations to embrace this approach and capitalize on the efficiencies that a cloud-based model offers.

For more information, visit:

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IoT in Action – Connectivity in Fire & Safety

The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a profound impact connecting buildings and industrial networks to IT environments. By linking your industrial sensors, robotics, trucks, and other equipment with your enterprise applications, through the Internet of Things (IoT), companies have better visibility into what’s happening in the environment. More importantly, these companies can more quickly and effectively respond to that information.

Connected Buildings and Incident Management

One area where IoT is changing the landscape is building management.   Traditionally, building management systems have been maintained on independent and proprietary networks.   This worked when the requirements were for stand-alone systems.   However, with the emergence of IoT, these systems are migrating to an IP/Ethernet based platform.   The benefits of this include: (1) improved ability to communicate between systems, (2) better integration with the building IT networks, and (3) ability to communicate outside the building.

One example is in fire and life safety.   Organizations are now looking at these solutions to be more than fire detection and alarm systems by providing additional capabilities and becoming incident management systems.

Edwards/UTC Moving into IoT

For example, when Edwards Fire Safety, a division of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, was looking for ‘Solutions for the Future’, they looked to Cisco. Working with Edwards, Cisco’s IoT business unit initiated a program under a Strategic Technology Integration agreement that combines Cisco’s ruggedized IE 2000 switch with the fire and life safety system.

To properly operate in these environments, networking devices must be highly ruggedized to protect the internal components. Specific and tight connectors are needed to avoid any possible water penetration and disconnects due to vibrations.

For Edwards, this provides a smart, next generation communication platform that provides three key benefits:

  1. Faster Deployments – The “Powered by Cisco” logo is one that is certainly respected and recognized within the networking ecosystem.   Edwards can leverage this logo to quickly address any concerns about the power of their solution components when working with building IT and networking teams.
  2. Next Generation Platform – Allows Edwards to utilize an IP/Ethernet based solution.   This offers multiple benefits including: common platform, open standards, scale and security, and the opportunity to build additional capabilities on the solution to support incident management.
  3. Solution Support – Enables Edwards to easily and quickly perform diagnostic and remediation of networks issues using a smart and managed switch.

Take a look at the solution at this year’s ASIS Conference:


Finding Solutions for the Future

Cisco makes it easy to capitalize on industrial connectivity and IT-to-operations convergence. We bring industry-leading network and management capabilities to your harshest environments, while providing end-to-end solutions to address every aspect of industrial networking, including plant routing and switching, field networks, embedded networks, and physical security. And all of these solutions integrate with Cisco’s traditional wired and wireless networking, security, collaboration, and data center solutions as part of a single, converged platform. For more information about Cisco switches, visit

Cisco Cloud Security for Public and Private Cloud – A Secure, and Compliant Cloud Data Center

Recently the widespread fire of data breaches impacting privacy of millions of hapless people across the globe has become the stirring news. This spree of cyber attacks unveiling the fact that information security industry, organizations and even governments are vulnerable to today’s persistent, well-organized and sophisticated cyber threats.

There was a common theme among all the recent data breaches shown below and that is the amount of time for initial detection, which is in weeks and months.

Cisco Cloud Security

According to Verizon data breach report, 85% of cyber attacks Read More »

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