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Mobile Government and Telework Week 2014

rpodEach year I pledge to telework along with thousands of others for the annual Telework Week.  Today, I worked from my rpod parked in front of my house.  My rpod is my personal smart work space and provides me everything I need to work at home or on the road with secure mobility capabilities that allow me to access all my meetings, applications, and collaboration tools to do my job.

In fact, I could have worked from anywhere and have been teleworking for the past several years.

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (Act) was signed into law on December 9, 2010. The objective is to achieve greater flexibility in managing the workforce through the use of telework. Telework programs  and best practices provide agencies a valuable tool to meet mission objectives while helping employees enhance work/life effectiveness to:

  • Improve Continuity of Operations to help ensure that essential Federal functions continue during emergency situations including snow storms
  • Promote management effectiveness when telework is used to target reductions in management costs and environmental impact and transit costs
  • Enhance work-life balance and allows employees to better manage their work and family obligations

This year, Telework Week 2014, was the fourth-annual global effort to encourage agencies, organizations, and individuals to pledge. A total of 163,495 pledges collectively saved $14,003,872 in commuting costs and spared the environment 9,066 tons of pollutants.

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – November 15, 2013

November 15, 2013 at 9:12 am PST

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Every Friday, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories of the week, 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

Ken Trombetta, vice president worldwide channels for Enterprise, Architectures and Solutions, was back on the Channels Blog this week with some great new insight around BYOD.

Ken used the information from the Cisco IBSG BYOD Financial impact study and expanded on mobile users willing to invest in BYOD and how BYOD delivers productivity gains and cost savings.

Be sure to join the discussion with Ken and give some feedback on your thoughts around mobility. Read More »

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[Summary] How Secure Is Your Mobile Worker?

August 27, 2013 at 12:07 pm PST

Let’s start with how well do you know your mobile worker?  Understanding the mobile worker’s perceptions and behaviors will offer a better view on the potential security implications your organization must manage.  Cisco just released new global research (white paper) , Cisco Connected  World International Mobile Security study, that explores the mobile worker’s view points on working remotely, connecting to corporate and their sense of security.  Some of the findings are worth reflecting on to help you set the course for your mobile security efforts.

There is no question; the movement for mobile personal devices in the workforce has been well recognized.  A recent response to this trend includes employers (almost half) offering to fund workers buying their own devices.  Allowing “chose your own” device will attract and retain talent and reduce costs (see recent IBSG BYOD research)—but what are the security implications?

There were a couple striking data points to call out:

  • 63% download sensitive data on their device …and the frequency significantly increases in some countries—
  • Most believe remote access is a privilege—yet in some countries they believe it’s a right as a worker—
  • Most are diligent when a pop up appears and read through the details on what it really means. Yet, some workers from select countries tend to be generally less careful.
  • 60% admit to engaging in risky behavior on a device  (personal or company-owned), connected to corporate resources,

So, who really owns the mobile security issue—mobile workers do not take full responsibility for a safe device--as expressed in their high confidence in their IT with over 84% believing that IT will protect them from threats no matter what device.  Read more on http://blogs.cisco.com/security/how-secure-is-your-mobile-worker-2/

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How Secure is Your Mobile Worker?

August 22, 2013 at 6:00 am PST

How well do you know your mobile worker? Understanding the mobile worker’s perceptions and behaviors will offer a better view on the potential security implications your organization must manage. Cisco recently released a new global infographic and white paper, the Cisco Connected World International Mobile Security study. They explore the mobile worker’s view points concerning working remotely, connecting to corporate, and their sense of security. Some of the findings are worth reflecting on to help you set the course for your mobile security efforts.

There is no question that the movement to mobile personal devices in the workforce has been well recognized. A recent response to this trend includes almost half of employers offering to fund workers to buy their own devices. Allowing the “chose your own” device alternative will attract and retain talent and reduce costs (see recent IBSG BYOD research), but what are the security implications?

There are a few striking data points to call out:

  • 63% of users download sensitive data on their devices. The frequency significantly increases in some countries which should alarm people doing business internationally if there are no precautions taken to secure the downloaded data. Imagine your financial data or product road maps being downloaded on an unprotected personal device.
  • Most believe remote access is a privilege. Yet in some countries they believe it’s a right as a worker. This establishes high expectations for IT to support and secure the devices including, but not limited to, extensive help desk calls.
  • Most users are diligent when a pop-up appears and will read through the details and determine what it really means. Yet, many workers from select countries generally tend to be less careful and accept warning pop-ups without reading the details which increases the risk that hidden malware will be downloaded. Hackers depend on this social mining effort.
  • 60% of users admit to engaging in risky behavior on a device (for example, personal or company-owned) while connected to corporate resources. This suggests that more security enforcement technology would benefit the prevention of data breaches and/or loss.

Data_Protection_Chart_1-300x115So, who really owns the mobile security issue? Mobile workers do not take full responsibility for a safe device with 84% believing that their IT will protect them from threats no matter what device is used. Sometimes IT’s perspective on this dependency is expressed with disbelief. An example of this issue was observed at BlackHat from a security professional during a demonstration we presented a couple weeks ago.

During the demonstration, we were showing how a user who inadvertently clicked on a phony URL sent in an email. That click triggered to phone an alert to a hacker that an “innocent” user is accessing the phony Internet site. The user unknowingly offered login credentials to their bank account. The hacker begins to record the users’ keystrokes to use later for malicious purposes. A security professional from BlackHat chimes in during the demonstration with the comment, “Dumb User.” The demonstration later showed how the combined effort of Cisco ISE and SIEM (Lancope) with unique TrustSec enforcement can identify and control the malicious activity with a single policy (for example, by segmenting and restricting users traffic close to the edge—on a network switch). The surprise to the security experts watching the demonstration was the concept that the network switch provided this enforcement.

Bottom Line: Most mobile workers have good intentions but do rely on IT to step in.

It would be great hear from you on your impressions of these recent findings and whether you are a mobile worker or an IT professional.

Please refer to Cisco’s security response for the mobile workforce: Secure Access

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Connected Millennials Entering the Workforce

Earlier this year, CNN reported that the U.S. jobless rate fell to its lowest level since 2008. Positive job growth—and having the talent to fulfill these job openings—is great news for employers, jobseekers, and the economy as a whole.

As the academic year comes to an end, college graduates around the world are getting ready to join that talent pool. This new generation of workers comes from an environment and lifestyle unlike that of their seniors, and they bring assets that are unfamiliar to more seasoned employees.

Let me elaborate for those of us born before 1980. When I joined the workforce some decades ago, faxing, mailing, and wired phones were everyday business staples. Today, each of us has at least one mobile device on hand. (I have three: my cell phone, iPad, and laptop.) And with those devices comes a shift in the ways we connect and communicate, at work and elsewhere. But many of us remember the time when we worked without these devices.

Millennials don’t have that memory. Coming of age in a mobile world makes their views fresh and their needs unique. Every time we bring a new, next-generation hire on board, I wonder, “What can they teach me?” This is the generation that will inherit the economy when we retire. By cross-mentoring each other, we all can do a better job of preparing for that future.

At Cisco, we are starting to see more and more of our customers adapting to accommodate the needs of their connected employees, both young and experienced. We’re seeing them laying the groundwork to encourage increased mobility in the workforce, with collaboration technologies and programs like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at the office. With BYOD and mobile technology becoming increasingly pervasive in the workplace, collaboration becomes more accessible, and productivity and efficiency improve. And as employees start enjoying the flexibility of working from anywhere, morale reaches a new high.

Connecting your workforce—whether it is multigenerational, multinational, or multilingual—and enabling the Internet of Everything, allows employers to bring together people, processes, data, and things. While first-time workers may lack the experience of their more seasoned coworkers, they’ll flourish more quickly if their need to be connected is fulfilled. As the pace of business continues to increase, it is imperative for executives to act now to make sure that collaboration technology is readily available, to attract Millennials and to engage employees of all generations.

My two biggest pieces of advice for companies looking to hire from this next generation are these:  First, leverage their always-connected lifestyle as an advantage to your business objectives—not as a setback. The way they play is also the way they work. Because of technology advancements, it is now completely viable for us to deliver the infrastructure for this lifestyle in the workplace. Second, encourage your entire workforce to participate in a knowledge exchange, wherein Millennials share tech know-how and senior workers share business acumen.

There is an amazing synergy going on that results from the new generation’s approach to work, the seasoned experience of older workers, and today’s mobile, collaborative technologies and architectures—and this synergy amounts to a big win for everyone.

 

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