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The Top 3 Security Challenges to Borderless Networks in 2010

January 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm PST

At Cisco, we’ve talked a lot of late about business trends that are creating the need for “Borderless Networks.” Businesses have increasingly mobile and global workforces that need to be able to connect anywhere, at any time, from any device. But these same business trends and the technological innovations working in tandem to support them introduce a dilemma. How do we build seamless networks that are also secure to address new opportunities?

In 2010 and beyond, there are three major on-going developments in both workforce behavior and technology that will present challenges to the security of the network:

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Got a Network Outage? Blame it on Santa!

Ah…the beginning of a New Year. Better yet – a new decade! The resolutions, the inspired ideas and of course all the holiday weight to lose. It was a good break. Like last year, Cisco had an enforced shutdown with the majority of company going on “vacation”. It was good not to come back to an e-mail backlog. The clock had indeed stopped.

It has been 10 days into the New Year already, and it already feels like a Loong time. The year seems to have begun on a positive note though. Retails sales were up in the holidays. Job losses, while still high, seem to be declining. Many companies have started hiring. Emerging markets are buoyant. The Burj Khalifa helped reach new heights. And boy, did the box offices rock to Avatar grossing Na’vigating themselves to movie history. Earthquakes (including a recent one that shook our San Jose office last week), realty, and attempted terrorist attacks have certainly put a damper on things, but there is something in the air this time around that was completely missing last year – Optimism!

From a theme of “Innovate to survive”, the mood has shifted to a theme of “Innovate to thrive”. The most excitement has been with consumer gadgets. People are willing to spend on entertainment either for themselves, or because their kids bug Santa and put him in overdrive. Most kids in my neighborhood seem to have these smartphones. Texting is no longer cool. They need to update Facebook and upload their videos, making the iPhones among the top gifts of 2009. iPhone ruled 2009 and the holiday season, alongwith its other Apple ibrethren. A variety of eReaders, gaming consoles, and of course the big screen TVs made news. Cool stuff was hot. Cisco’s own Flip cameras had the cool factor. I was gawking at the Flips in Costco, when the sales person told me to “grab them before they’re gone”.  I did.

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How Internet standards are born

I recently had the chance to catch up with Eliot Lear, a Consulting Engineer at Cisco who has been involved in the open standards movement for over 20 years. Eliot has submitted eight Requests for Comments (RFC), the documents that form the basis of Internet standards. Over my time here, I’ve come to understand how important standards efforts are to Cisco, and I wanted to find out more from one of our very own experts. Here Eliot’s answers my questions.

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Cisco Networks And The Three Blind Myths! Myth #3: Choice

In my previous two posts, I offered an eyes-wide-open view of two often-cited criticisms relating to Cisco networks – Complexity and Cost. In this third and final installment of the myth-busting series, I want to dismiss the assertion that Cisco networks limit choice. Conversely, I’ll argue that Cisco networks actually offer the greatest choice to network operators.

Before I dispel the myth of Choice, I want to state that there are a number of variations of the Choice myth. I’ll focus on the five that I see as most relevant to the network and the network operator – Network Options, Open Standards, Support Resources, Partner Solutions, and Business Innovation.

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Borderless Netbooks

According to Larry Dignan of ZDNet, the 264% growth in sales of “Netbooks” over the same quarter last year demonstrates that these small, low-power, web-browsing-centric notebook computers are here to stay. Netbooks seem to match our insatiable desire for a borderless world. In a connect-on-the-go, anytime, anywhere kind of world, people want portable. They want quick and simple.

The connection between netbooks and Cisco’s Borderless Networks concept is even deeper than I once thought however. Take a look at the power requirements for most netbook models. They consume 30 watts of power. Heard of PoE Plus, the new standard of Power-over-Ethernet technology from Cisco that allows up to 30 watts per port for power-hungry devices? Heard of the Catalyst 4500, the first switch series to support this new standard? Light bulb!

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