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Network Threats Are Hitching a Ride in Mobile Environments

Innovation never stops in the mobile world, and that rule applies to security threats as well. Network attacks are becoming more sophisticated and even high-tech businesses with the most advanced security may find themselves in the crosshairs as we shift to more devices and anywhere access.

Just a few weeks ago, multiple leading social networking and large enterprises were hit with an attack when their employees visited a known and trusted website focused on mobile application development. Attackers used a method commonly referred to as “water-holing,” where they compromise a legitimate site commonly visited by employees of their target organizations. Using zero-day vulnerabilities and malicious code that change at a rapid rate, these attacks highlight the need to consistently enhance traditional defenses based on signatures or reputation with global and local context analysis.

This episode underscores how important security is in a more mobile, more connected world—attackers are paying attention, using these industry trends to create targeted and sophisticated attacks that can bypass traditional defenses. The Cisco 2013 Annual Security Report found that Android Malware grew 2,577 percent in 2012 alone. The Internet of Everything is taking shape and the number of online connections is soaring. According to Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013, 30 billion things will be connected by 2020.

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The Secret to Mobility in a Multiple Device World

The Internet of Everything is all around us. People are connecting on the go in new ways, and they expect fast, secure network connections that follow them anywhere and everywhere —at work, at home, at play, at the mall, at the gym, or even at the ballpark.

Not so long ago, getting on the Internet was a static experience. It was a desktop PC tethered to the company network, or for the elite the “double, double, toil and trouble” of a modem firing up, followed by a long wait for a sluggish home connection.

The new era of mobility takes computing beyond the PC’s limitations, surpassing it by a long shot. It’s becoming less about devices than what you can do as the workspace evolves, offering adaptability and choice based upon who you are, where you are, and what you need to accomplish. Whether it’s a quick phone call, a web conferencing session, instant messaging, or file sharing, removing the limitations of location and devices lets organizations work together better and make decisions faster.

What is driving these changes? When people think of mobility, they usually focus on the devices used to access the net. Slick new smart phone displays, multi-touch tablet screens, and futuristic industrial designs are definitely eye-catching. Consumers are snapping up these new devices, and companies are embracing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs. But what’s happening behind the scenes and on the screens is just as important—if not more important.

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Infrastructure for Megatrends

In my job as Cisco’s Field & Sales CTO for Borderless Networks in the Cisco EMEAR Theatre, I have the privilege of working directly with many Cisco customers and partners. The majority of these folks are what you’d call “Technical Decision Makers” and CTOs. They’re the IT leaders who do the planning, the strategy, and work on the evolution of their infrastructure.

And frankly, in my 20 years in the IT industry, I have never witnessed such a perfect IT storm!

We are in the midst of a time in IT, where, for most organizations, the current megatrends are having a profound impact on the relevance of their IT. This is felt in both the infrastructure technologies as well as the solutions required to support those megatrends. Read More »

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Enterprise Networks and the Drive for IPv6

It was not that long ago that whenever I read an article about IPv6, it usually discussed how the IPv4 Address depletion in other countries. At that time, the adoption of IPv6 was coming from other countries that where the v4 address space was depleted, the US Government, or Service Provider. Well fast forward only a few years and you can include Enterprise Networks in that mix.

Driving this IPv6 train for enterprise networks is wireless technology and the enabling by-product, BYOD. Wireless technology, in particular, Wi-Fi has grown from a toy to a requirement in most businesses today. We have moved from 802.11b which gave you a max datarate of a paltry 11Mbps to 802.11n to a max datarate of 450Mbps if you currently deploy the Aironet 3600 Access Point that supports 4x4 MIMO; if not, it’s a max datarate of 300Mbps. Never mind the fact that we will soon see the Wave 1 version of 802.11ac will have a datarate of 1.3Gbps and Oh BTW, Wave 2 promises a scorching datarate of 6.9Gbps!

ipv6 bill

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Why Engage Expert IT Services for Mobility and BYOD?

March 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm PST

BYOD blogThree Reasons: More Productivity, Revenues, and Savings

How can you control the connections and user experiences—and security—of BYOD and other mobile devices that access your business network?  Maybe you or your IT staff have the expertise and time to do-it-yourself (DIY). Or, maybe not.

In my last blog,I outlined the benefits of mobility technologies and the hot bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend that is shaping the future of how business is done. When you consider the amazing things that happen when we connect people, process, data, and things, it’s no surprise to see the demand accelerating from employees, business leaders, and customers for mobile device connectivity.

So, how do you take care of it all—including security? Is DIY really the answer? The devil is in the details.

In this blog, I’ll give you two real-life examples of an alternative to DIY that has a high value proposition: engaging expert IT services for planning, building, and managing mobility—and quickly getting full ROI. 

Example #1: Higher productivity, lower OpEx: A small business wanted to trim the large operating expense (OpEx) for its office space in the city by getting employees to work remotely. But the business also wanted to preserve its data security and employees’ feeling of working collaboratively. It decided to engage TekScape, a Cisco Premier Certified Partner, to come up with a solution.

TekScape specializes in “landscape technology”, its term for technology that facilitates more mobile and productive working environments. TekScape delivers and manages advanced IT solutions to help businesses increase employee productivity and reduce operating expenses. Its services include tailored design, implementation, and support of network integration, data center, unified collaboration, and mobility.

TekScape provided the 30-employee business with design and implementation services, as well as an ongoing managed service. The technology solution included Cisco collaboration and security products, and hosted communications services for mobile device apps and Cisco SMARTnet technical support service. To enhance the support, Cisco SMARTnet gives customers direct access to Cisco experts and online resources that can quickly resolve problems, lessen risk by detecting security issues, and keep customers’ IT staff up to date on technology advances and security threats. Solutions like this one position small businesses competitively for current and future mobility opportunities.

Following are the quantitative results:

  • Over 75 percent of the employees moved out of the office and now work from home or the site of their choice, using BYOD.
  • Their productivity immediately increased by 10 to 15 percent, due to less commuting, more flexible work hours, and the greater efficiency of participating in meetings in a videoconference format
  • The annual OpEx for office space shrank by more than $125,000
  • The business realized full ROI from its mobility products and services in less than a year

Example #2: Revenue and business continuity: A 200-employee business that provides medical records services had an ongoing contract with TekScape to monitor the performance of its network. The network equipment included a Cisco Unified Communications Manager platform and IP phones, and Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX)for client devices.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the business’s building on a Monday, 30 feet of water flooded two floors beneath the business. All power, Internet, and phone services for the building were knocked out.

Early the next morning,TekScape engineers wearing water boots showed up at the customer’s business, ready to help it resume operations. They quickly assessed that the utilities’ restoration of power and communications services to the building would take days (if not weeks), a delay the business could not endure due to client contracts and compliance requirements.

So TekScape devised an interim BYOD communications network solution, using the customers’ existing network equipment. TekScape engineers carried the communications platform to a co-location center, where they configured it for remote contact center agents, softphones, point-to-point video, and Cisco Jabber. The 200 employees quickly resumed work from locations all over the city, using their tablets, laptops, PCs, and smartphones to connect securely via VPNs.

It turned out that full restoration of operations at the site of the business’s building took two months, a delay that would have cost the customer $5 million in lost revenues. 

The quantitative results: In less than a day, the customer realized full ROI from TekScape’s mobility services. And without them, the customer said, it would have gone out of business.      

How could your business use expert mobility services to increase its productivity, revenues, or savings on operating expenses? The ROI from engaging expert IT services for planning, building, and managing mobility can be big and fast.

So if you are thinking of an alternative to DIY, consider working with a Cisco Partner.  Find a partner today.

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