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Cyber Security for the Holiday Season and Beyond

November 10, 2010 at 10:38 am PST

Yesterday I was going through my mail at home, and a nicely decorated print ad caught my eye with a title “Cyber Monday Event.” Wow, it’s only early November, but retailers are already racing to jumpstart the holiday shopping season, including online shopping promotions. Are you ready to dive in?

In my previous blogpost, I shared information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October and how Cisco supported this great event. I attended the October 6 “A Unified Message for Cybersecurity” forum at Intel and other related activities. With the “Stop. Think. Connect.” message in place, the support of excellent public and private partnerships, and participation from numerous organizations and individuals, I feel that the cybersecurity awareness campaign has reached critical mass this year. In the meantime, the need for cyber security is further evidenced by a number of events, such as Firesheep and new online banking security flaws disclosed within the past 30 days.

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Don’t be a Victim – Part 2

Yesterday I talked about the vital importance of passwords in the quest to avoid victimization, but today I will take a look at how some recent changes and advances in technology can have an impact as well.

Some of the fundamental tenants of Borderless Networks include the fact that the network is evolving. No longer the classical, hard crunchy shell with the soft chewy middle, the network has become more open, more amorphous and more mobile. Because of these factors, the network is far more available and useful to users wherever they are, at home, on the road or even chilling at *bucks. Indeed, to illustrate the ubiquity of Borderless Networks, I even saw a woman emailing on a smartphone in the middle of a Zumba class (comic aside, my participation in Zumba is a lot like an inebriated bear doing ballet, but that is a different story). The network is no longer confined to the safe castle-keep of the Enterprise, but instead now follows us wherever we go. This creates opportunities, such as receiving email from the boss while you sip a latte at a coffee shop, but it also creates vulnerabilities as well, which we will come back to.

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Don’t be a Victim – Part 1

One of the phrases sometimes heard in certain circles I have traveled in was “Don’t be a victim,” or its near cousin “Don’t allow yourself to be victimized.” While these words of wisdom were passed around in some of the rough, hard biker hangouts up in the Santa Cruz mountains, they are relevant to the world of Borderless Networks as well.

In terms of mitigating risk, one of the very best things you can do is actually one of the simplest. When it comes to passwords, pick a good one and use it. Mix in numbers, special characters, uppercase and lowercase and avoid names and dictionary words and you are going to be in a far better place. Oh, and as 4chan illustrated when they hacked a Christian dating site, never assume that your password will not be stolen – you may want to use different passwords. For mobile devices, which are prone to being left in various places, it is critical to have a password protected locking home screen.

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Why Video? Why Now?

The world is becoming flat.  Enterprises are optimizing the diverse talents and skills of employees and partners around the globe.  The challenge of globalization is to provide effective communication across distances and cultures. Enterprises must focus on improving collaboration. The use of video to communicate and collaborate, for information sharing or e-learning, is perhaps the closest alternative to actually being there, enterprises will be able to transcend physical location. For more information, Cisco conducted an interesting study, “The Psychology of Effective Business Communications in Geographically Dispersed Teams.

The cost of traveling represents a significant proportion of recurring operational expenses for many enterprises, so many of them are looking for ways to reduce travel costs. The key is to make travel more productive by reallocating travel time to videoconferencing for routine internal meetings, and using that travel budget to visit more customers. In addition to cost savings, enterprises are turning to video to show shareholders and customers that they are serious about reducing their carbon footprint and doing what they can to be a Green company.

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The medianet demo at NYC Interop 2010

Pervasive Video over the network is a topic that we’re hearing a lot about these days, with the recent Cisco launch, as well as stats being thrown around about the number of hexabites that video is consuming according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI).  But where is the proof of this? And how do I deploy and maintain all this video?

Here is one way.  In case you missed last week’s Interop IT Conference and Expo in NY, on Oct. 20 and 21st, 2010, the Cisco Medianet team presented a very cool demonstration highlighting current medianet technologies: IP SLA Video Operation, and Auto Smartports were on exhibition. These technologies help organizations deploy rich media services to:
•    Accelerate and ease video application deployments
•    Assist in validation of rich media service quality
•    Diagnose video issues and reduce time to resolution of problems

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