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The Weather Channel Uses Fast IT to Harness Data

When you walk outside and notice dark clouds gathering, or a cheerfully bright sun, little may cross your mind except to grab an umbrella or your shades. But chances are, the team at The Weather Channel knew about these weather conditions days in advance thanks to Fast IT. And with this advance information, The Weather Channel offers what is relevant to you in the moment.

In our Internet of Everything (IoE) world, more consumers and employees are demanding more relevant content now. As such, organizations must keep pace. The Fast IT model built to transform and simplify IT operations is the way to evolve in today’s environment.

For many CIOs, including The Weather Company’s Bryson Koehler, a Fast IT model has resulted in more accurate, relevant and timely data with unprecedented and unlimited uses. Consider his insights in this video:

“When I look at network programmability, I see the same capability enablement that I see from all of the other things that have preceded it,” he said. “Which is how do we leverage technology to be more flexible, how do we free up engineers and developers to innovate quicker and how do we get the traditional shackles of rigid technology unlocked so we don’t have to be nailed down to a specific piece of infrastructure.”

Over the past year-and-a-half, The Weather Company, parent to The Weather Channel, has rebuilt their entire data platform, moving their forecasting over to the cloud, allowing them to ingest data through an extremely rich set of application programming interface (API). In doing this, the organization is able to improve the accuracy of their forecast, collecting data from across the globe and analyzing it at lightning fast speeds – essential when dealing with an unpredictable variable like the weather.

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Security Must Mature to Protect Against Threats

As we discuss in the Cisco Midyear Security Report, cybersecurity is becoming more of a strategic risk for today’s businesses, creating a growing focus on achieving “security operations maturity.” That’s why Cisco has developed the Security Operations Maturity Model – to help organizations understand how security operations, technologies, and products must evolve to keep up with the pace of change in their environments and increasingly sophisticated attacks. The model plots a journey along a scale of controls that moves from static to human intervention to semi-automatic to dynamic and, ultimately, predictive controls.

Every day I see evidence of why we need to evolve our security capabilities. A perfect example is the Kyle and Stan malicious advertising attack that our Talos Security Intelligence and Research Group discovered and continues to analyze. Ongoing research now reveals that the attack is nine times larger than initially believed and began more than two years ago. The expansiveness and extended period of the campaign reflects the ability of this attack to continuously morph, move quickly, and erase its tracks leaving nearly indiscernible indicators of compromise. To effectively detect and protect against attacks like this, organizations need dynamic controls that see more, learn more, and adapt quickly. Relying exclusively on static controls and human intervention puts defenders at a significant disadvantage and allows attacks to run rampant.

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Intercloud, The Next Internet Starts Here

Thirty years ago, two engineers – Cisco’s founders – solved a connectivity problem between two network islands on the Stanford University campus, and paved the way for three dramatic decades of Internet-driven innovation.

Today, there’s hardly an aspect of our lives that isn’t touched by the Internet. For large and mid-size enterprises, government and education, the Internet has forced major transitions and none has been more transformative than cloud.

Organizations are adopting cloud in all its forms – infrastructure-as-a-service to solve their workload requirements, software-as-a-service for new application needs – and they are leveraging the cloud to create new product and service innovations with mobile, collaboration and analytics solutions. According to industry analysts, the cloud market will top $144 billion in 2016 and has more than doubled since 2012. (Source: Cisco Market Estimates, July 2014)

The impact of cloud is unquestionable. Our customers and partners know they can leverage the cloud to fuel top-line growth by improving their business agility and reach, and by enabling new product service innovation for their customers and citizens. They also recognize that cloud can improve their bottom-line economics, foster innovation and drive economic growth and productivity.

But cloud is presenting as many challenges for IT departments and cloud service providers as it is opportunities.

Today, the lack of ability to connect public clouds, and to move workloads and associated policies between clouds, coupled with an inability to manage public and private clouds together as a single capability, prevents IT organizations from buying cloud services from any vendor they choose and managing these services as if they were part of their extended private cloud.

IT departments also need to enable business globally while operating within the constraints of national and regional regulations governing data privacy, security and data sovereignty. Today’s largely global (but not local) cloud solutions don’t provide this either.

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An Afternoon of Marketing Inspiration

Last week I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the Ad Age CMO Strategy Summit in San Francisco.  It was great to spend the afternoon with hundreds of fellow marketers who were taking time out of their busy schedules to discuss how brands are innovatively delivering new, fresh ideas to their customers.

There were truly inspiring presentations by amazing brands such as Target, GoPro and Coca-Cola discussing how the marketing landscape is changing due to all the data we are can access and collect. Here are some of my reflections on the powerful marketing programs being deployed by some of my fellow CMO’s:

CMO Blair Christie

B2ME (Business to Me) Marketing is in, B2B or B2C Marketing is Out:

With the explosion of data, new target audiences, new media vehicles and new selling channels, understanding the individual behind who you are marketing to is extremely important. As Kraft Foods’ CMO Deanie Elsner pointed out in her presentation, there is a new era of “agile marketing” or marketing in a digital age, where we are moving from broad buying media to buying individuals – agnostic of medium – driven by fragmented media consumption on multiple devices. With all the rich, customer data available, brands need to provide the right message in the right medium at the right moment to stay relevant with customers to drive purchase decisions.

The Innovation Pipeline is Key to Growth and Differentiation with Brands

Target’s “Made to Matter” campaign is doing this well by cultivating a partnership of shared values. Target CMO Jeff Jones spoke on a panel with Neil Grimmer of Plum Organics and Eric Ryan of Method on how Target works with various leading organic, sustainable and natural brands like Plum Organics and Method, giving them a platform to launch their products and make them more accessible to the general public. In return, Target has been able to secure a pipeline of unique innovation to offer its customers. As a mom of three children and a frequent Target shopper, I personally love this campaign!

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Cisco Security Leadership Transition

I would like to announce that David Goeckeler is assuming leadership responsibilities for Cisco’s Security Business Group (SBG) effective immediately.  David has served as vice president of Product and Platform Engineering for the SBG for the last two years. His expertise will continue to help drive Cisco’s security momentum and ensure we are our customers’ number one security partner.

David has been with Cisco for 14 years. Most recently, he and his team have been instrumental in developing Cisco’s end-to-end security architecture, integrating market-leading products from recent acquisitions including Sourcefire into Cisco security solutions. These efforts are enabling Cisco to address customers’ needs in a way that no other vendor can match today.

David played a key role in last week’s launch of the Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services next-generation firewall (NGFW). His efforts also directly contributed to a report issued today by NSS Labs that shows Cisco as a leader in security effectiveness in its 2014 NGFW Security Value Map (SVM).

David maintains a deep bench of security expertise including Marty Roesch, Bret Hartman, Mike Fuhrman, Scott Harrell and Marc Solomon. David has received a M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana -- Champaign, and MBAs from Columbia University and the University of California -- Berkeley.

I would also like to share with you that Christopher Young has decided to leave Cisco. We would like to thank Chris for his leadership and guiding Cisco through significant transitions. Under David’s new leadership, we look forward to continuing to provide best in class security solutions to our customers.

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