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Application Visibility Makes Parenting Easier!

internet usage-v1.Parenting in a hyper-connected world is increasingly challenged by lack of visibility into children’s internet usage, and by limited controls to customize internet usage policies per child. About a year ago, I installed a home router with parental-controls. My kids (teenage girls!) quickly complained about the additional latency it introduced on the network. User experience was clearly in the tank. I soon discovered that those controls were not granular enough to customize for different times of the day, for different users, and down to individual devices.

By then, I realized that I had to fundamentally rethink my home network in order to become a more effective parent. I needed better insight into my network’s traffic. Finally, last fall, the geek in me awakened and I deployed a full-fledged Cisco network in my home with advanced Application Visibility & Control (AVC) capabilities, providing me deep insight into my home’s internet traffic.

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Quick Tips for Tracking Alerts

It’s no secret, networks, in general, are more challenging to manage than before.

As networks increase in complexity to embrace new business innovations, they may require more supporting devices, which, in turn, can result in even more alerts to manage.

If you’re a network manager or security officer, what are you going to do?

At Quintiles, they started using Smart Net Total Care to identify devices that might have security vulnerabilities. In the centralized portal, their IT team could easily access information on each type of alert, which is displayed by category or device and contains summary information with a link to the actual alert on Cisco.com.

“In the past, our security team would receive a notification and need detailed data from us to determine our level of risk,” says Wil Bolton, senior network systems engineer for Quintiles. “Now we can be proactive, because we can check the portal and know immediately. We have already completed some critical upgrades based on PSIRT information and can be confident that we are aware of a potential vulnerability.”

So, how are you going to quickly identify risks and network vulnerabilities? How will you reduce time chasing irrelevant alerts, so you have more time to focus on projects you care about?  Read More »

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3 Determining Questions and One Can’t-Miss 4G LTE Webinar

Hot Air Balloon in the FogAn Unforgettable Experience

It’s 6 a.m. on a Saturday. Filled with excitement and anticipation, I watched as my hot air balloon, the last one in the bunch, inflated. Around me, one after another, balloons started to float effortlessly off the ground into the air. The Napa Valley’s sun glittered in the distant as my balloon finally took off. At 1,050 feet, some fogs rolled by, then I saw it: a shadow of my balloon in the fog encircled by a rainbow – see the picture above, top right. I quickly pulled out my iPhone 6, snapped a panoramic, and posted it on Facebook. It was the most mesmerizing experience ever, not just because of the experience itself, but also because I can share it with my families and friends via 4G LTE. However, 4G LTE isn’t just for smartphones.

Connecting the Unconnected

The world of things, a.k.a Internet of Things (#IoT), around us is connecting in ways beyond imagination. According to a November 2014 issue of the Harvard Business Review, “Smart, connected products are changing how value is created…(and) will affect the trajectory of the overall economy, giving rise to the next era of IT-driven productivity growth for companies, their customers, and the global economy.” For example, just-in-time inventory replenishment, powered by connected vending machines, enables one business to capitalize on OpEx savings and increase revenue per unit. Wireless monitoring allows an oil and gas company to quickly respond to pipeline issues in rugged, remote locations. Connected lightning empowers one smart city to reduce crime rate and improve its residents’ quality of life. Even one’s personal space, such as the home, is becoming more connected with the use of #WEMO products and smart devices integration (those coming to #CES, you must see the Connected Home demo). This Digital Transformation, powered by 4G LTE, brings about considerable improvements in the ways we work, live, and play.  Read More »

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10 Smart New Ways to Keep Your Network Up and Running: Final Thoughts from Cisco Live

After several days of attending Cisco Live, I’m excited about what I’ve seen and heard. Not just from my Cisco colleagues but from customers who are transforming their businesses by using their networks in new and previously unimaginable ways. Today’s business call to action, “Disrupt or be disrupted,” couldn’t be more true.

In my blog before Cisco Live, I described how we decided to combine our two most popular enterprise support services to create one powerful and flexible service. Converging SMARTnet with Smart Net Total Care under the name of Smart Net Total Care allows you to choose the basic network support capabilities traditionally found in SMARTnet, as well as reach higher to access the proactive smart service features of Smart Net Total Care. In doing so, you can optimize the full lifecycle of all your Cisco equipment. This consolidation creates more flexibility and more value for you when it comes to selecting a single solution that supports all your company’s Cisco network devices. Learn more here:

 

In my last blog, I also shared with you five of the most popular user applications of Smart Net Total Care based on customer feedback.  Now, I’m sharing the final five applications to complete the ten smart ways to keep your network up and running smoothly and reliably – and to protect it from unnecessary risk.  As a reminder, I’ve included the first five. Skip to number 6 if you’re already familiar with them.

1. Simplify Contract Management

Many customers use the contract management features of SNTC to simplify how they manage their Cisco service contracts. It provides a consolidated view of all the Cisco devices in the network and their support contracts.  This visibility can help dramatically reduce the number of contracts and result in less administrative overhead, faster renewals and timely product refresh. If you’re not familiar with how to take advantage of this functionality, take a few minutes to check out this video. It demonstrates how you can plan for service coverage renewal and save hours and even days managing your contracts in the future.

2. Save Installed Base Management Time

Time is your most valuable resource … yet you never have enough. Freeing up time from routine network maintenance tasks helps you focus on more strategic IT assignments. SNTC lets you eliminate steps – and accelerate others – in your IB management process. Learn how you can get more out of your day with time saving tips found in this videoRead More »

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Improve Your Network, Improve Your Business – Why it’s Time to Upgrade Your Campus Network

Today, Cisco is announcing the Cisco Catalyst 6840-X and 3850 10G Fiber Series for campus backbones to address new network infrastructure needs, especially in space constrained deployments.

According to the Visual Networking Index, traffic is expected to triple in the next four years. This means that many campus networks will lack the provisioned capacity to meet this expected growth in bandwidth. In fact, some network managers are telling us that this is already happening to their campus networks.

With video and bandwidth-intensive applications continuing to proliferate, traffic on campus networks is growing exponentially. This drives not only the challenge of managing the demand for growing scale in a secure and reliable fashion, but also the opportunity for IT to leverage video and robust applications to “add value to the business”.  Customers and suppliers are gravitating to businesses that offer them a comprehensive view of product offerings, an instant response, and easy transactions. This also drives additional demands on the network as an enabler for the business.

Things are changing with employees as well. While many employees are provided a mobile phone, most already have at least three mobile devices including laptops, tablets and even private smart phones. Even when employees are not actively using the apps on their mobile devices, these devices can create additional background traffic (OS, App updates & backups). According to a Cisco IBSG study, there are three times more devices per person than just a few years ago. Virtually all devices connect through the employer’s network, which has to service all these devices in a secure, scalable and reliable fashion.

While devices grow in number, wireless connectivity speed is increasing. Gigabit wireless (802.11ac) enables a network that is three times faster due to its 1.3 Gbps capacity.  802.11ac Wave 2 more than doubles that.  Thus, the bottleneck is moving “up the network” from wireless AP to the access uplinks. With 1G becoming the standard for access switch ports, access switch uplinks will need to move to ubiquitous 10G and 40G.  Read More »

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