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One Management for the BYOD Challenge

January 16, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

As part of my work at Cisco, I get to talk to customers very often. Through these conversations, I learn what works for them and what concerns them. Lately, I’ve been hearing a common theme from a lot of customers: in many organizations IT staff is small and not growing while they are being asked to do more to meet the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) challenge.

BYOD has drastically changed the technology landscape as users bring many different types of personal devices to the networks of schools and colleges, hospitals, financial agencies, enterprises and other organizations. One university IT team, including their chief technology officer and their IT administrators, recently told me that they had 200% network user growth and 300% endpoint device growth over the last several years. As for their network, they used to have less than 100 wireless access points (APs). Guess how many they have today? Over a thousand. And they are planning to deploy several hundred more APs in the coming months. How about their IT headcount growth? As you might have guessed, it’s not grown at all.

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Reflections from the Floor at NRF 2013

panoramaAfter a long day of showing the Cisco BYOD Smart Solution and Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences solutions at the 2013 National Retail Federation (NRF) trade show, I am waiting for a colleague to meet me for a well-deserved dinner. I had many, and yes there were MANY, conversations with Retail IT professionals,  and nearly every conversation I had seemed to revolve around the same two problems:

  1. How do I allow employees and / or customers to access the network when I don’t have dedicated local IT support?
  2. How do I give up the control and make sure my security and compliance requirements are met?

We know almost all organizations are struggling with BYOD, but it’s now clear that the lack of local IT support adds a new dimension to the problem. With the increased adoption of mobility, there’s also the added complexity of security and compliance, and with all the connected consumers walking around, it’s becoming a growing concern in the retail space. Retail organizations want to take advantage of the promise that leveraging Wi-Fi access to engage with employees and customers, but fear the management and security of such services.

Fortunately, Cisco is addressing both these issues with its mobility solutions.

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Registration Open: Is Your Network Ready for BYOD Webcast

RegisterNow that you’ve survived the annual gift-giving extravaganza (at least in the US) of the holidays, you have probably noticed some colleagues and employees showing up touting new smart phones, tablets, or random internet-connecting devices.  Happy as you may be for them, you probably also know (because, hey, you’re reading this blog) that all these fun little devices can put a strain on a company.

In the last few weeks, your IT team (that probably includes you or someone you know) has probably been spending an inordinate amount of time helping users get their devices connected.  They’ve probably been dealing more with maintenance headaches than working on more interesting services.  In fact, headache medicine sales spike in mid-January in regions with higher densities of people in IT*.

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One Policy for the BYOD Challenge

January 15, 2013 at 5:45 pm PST

Man on LadderSeveral years ago, I had a conversation with an IT manager about his company’s network security that I still remember today. He said: “We’re losing our battle over internal network security. We cannot keep up with our vendors and contractors who bring in all kinds of devices to our network. We may turn our internal network into a DMZ.” Turning an internal network into a DMZ was probably an extreme case at that time but it showed the underlying problem: if you don’t have control over what’s happening on your network, you’ll have an uphill battle in your hands.

Today, the challenge has intensified due to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. There are speculations that corporate networks may eventually turn out to be the equivalent of college networks where users routinely bring their own personal devices. Because personal devices generally do not have the same level of security as IT-owned assets, they tend to have more vulnerabilities and it’s harder to protect sensitive information and intellectual property on these devices. The adage, “security risks walk in the door with employees” is quickly becoming a reality that organizations must address.

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The Year Ahead in the Classroom - Wherever the Classroom May Be...

January 9, 2013 at 2:28 pm PST

After a well deserved break and perhaps a bit of indulgence over the holidays, we are now back to the books and looking ahead at what 2013 has in store for education.

Last year we watched as school districts embraced mobile learning and universities relied more on collaborative technologies. Those that took the leap and accepted new tools and educational models were rewarded with improved student performance, accelerated partnerships and more.

With a landmark year for education technology behind us, now is the time to harness the momentum and drive innovation forward in 2013. So as we slither into the year of the snake, here are four high impact trends worth watching:

  • Perfecting the Flipped Classroom:  As more teachers do the flip, they will reconsider how to empower students and hone in on the most effective ways to use class time. In 2013, we’ll be sure to see more innovation around this technology-enabled classroom model.
  • Transition to hybrid learning: With online courses on the rise, educators will experiment how to best integrate them with traditional teaching methods. This year schools and universities will hone in on the most effective formats for learning in the digital age.
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