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Collaborating with the New Generation

October 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm PST

I had a troubling thought. If I can no longer be considered part of the new generation, am I now the old generation? Generation X used to sound so modern, but we’re no longer the cool kids. After all, I’m driving a Prius and doing fourth-grade homework with my kid after dinner instead of chasing Skrillex. Now we have the Millennials who, according to Wikipedia, are Gen Y. (But, really, what generation wants to be saddled with a name based on the one that came before it?)

We recently invited a small group of MBA students from University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business to meet some of our customers for a grilling panel on what companies can expect from the new generation entering the workforce.

They provided first-hand perspective about what it’s like to be new on the block and work with, well, er, an older generation. Compared to our learned comfort with technology, theirs is nearly ingrained based on its presence in their lives since childhood. This difference comes through in their expectations, habits, and predictions for the wonderful world of technology in front of us. Read More »

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iPad Mini Launches – How will it and others impact education?

October 26, 2012 at 9:27 am PST

As we look seriously at connected learning, the influx of notebooks and mobile learning applications has been astounding. This week, in fact, Apple took over much of the news with the launch of its iPad Mini. In the previous weeks leading up to this launch, I heard and read discussions around education being a key target audience for this new iPad offering, which renewed my intrigue in the use of handheld devices & mobile learning.

Bloomberg discussed the rise in iPads being used in the classrooms due to its “cool factor” and ability to encourage students to learn by increasing engagement. More than 2,500 classrooms currently utilize iPads as learning tools, and this number is expected to increase with the continued growth of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Superintendent of the McAllen Independent School District in Texas was quoted saying, “We’re moving away from desktops and laptops. Ninety percent of the work is now being done on mobile devices.”

Think about that for a minute -- ninety percent -- wow. With mobile learning amongst Forbes recent list of Five Technologies to Watch, it is obviously only going to increase in momentum. In addition, the potential revolution in digital textbooks is primed to change the entire landscape. The jury is still out on when that revolution will take place, but it’s looking more and more like a reality.

Are you, or do you know, an educator who is formatting educational materials for mobile devices and planning learning activities that leverage multimedia, videoconferencing and other features of smart phones and tablets? Tell us your story! (and what you think of the new iPad mini)

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Perspectives on MobileCon 2012

I attended MobileCon 2012, the newly branded CTIA enterprise and application event, earlier this month. I noticed the common theme this year was MDM-BYOD-Cybersecurity. Given the recent McKinsey report that indicated 77 percent of CIOs today state that they will allow some form of consumerization in the coming few years, IT professionals are challenged to increase flexibility without compromising security

Throughout the event, I heard many BYOD case studies with a huge interest/following in data and metrics. On this theme, I thought our own Cisco BYOD case study that we have been sharing with our customers would be of interest to this community.

Note, I will provide updated numbers soon as my peers continue to seek out the latest and greatest mobile devices here in the center of Silicon Valley.

For Cybersecurity, I’d like to follow up on John Stewart’s thoughts from yesterday. October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and the joint-task theme between public and private industries resonated across the show. On this note, Cisco is one of the contributors in CTIA’s recently released Cybersecurity Whitepaper.

In my next few blogs, I want to share interesting facts I’m calling, “Did U Know Data for Mobile Security.” The first fact comes from Osterman Research, Inc. for Azaleos.

“The leading factor (34%) cited for deploying an MDM solution was the potential for loss of intellectual property.”

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Talk Security When You Talk BYOD

October 24, 2012 at 7:30 am PST

The verdict is in — and it is all about security. Recent research from The Economist notes that security is the top concern for mobility and BYOD. Organizations want to embrace BYOD but want control to ensure secure access to the network. Chuck Robbins, Cisco Senior Vice President, wrote a blog entry that underscores what we hear almost daily in conversations with our customers and partners. The organizations we speak to have mobility policies that range from no personal devices allowed at all (which is really not BYOD), to policies that permit all personal devices with restricted access, and still others that allow all devices with differentiated access based on the device type, user, and posture.

Some common differentiation access use cases may include:

  • Allow my sales force to access the proposal portal remotely from their iPads but do not allow them access to the finance database.
  • Do not allow any jail broken device, whether personal or corporate-owned, because there is a high probability it has been infected with malware. A device is considered jail broken when the user gains root access to the operating system, allowing applications or extensions to be downloaded that are not available in the Apple Application store, which increases the risk of malware infection.
  • Automatically check to see if the device has pin-lock and disk encryption (basic device security), grant the device the appropriate access. If not, it will be diverted with the non-compliance explanation.

Another interesting observation is many of our higher education customers are starting to see eight devices per user versus the three devices noted. Watch out! The next workforce has some real potential to influence the new workplace.

To help organizations get ready for securing BYOD, we have a paper on Readiness Assessments: Vital to Secure Mobility; check it out.

Stay tuned -- later this year we look forward to sharing with you some further insight on mobile workers and their perceptions and behaviors regarding security. For example, how many folks download sensitive data on their personal smartphone? Or when an alert or pop-up warning occurs on their personal device what do they do? How many engage in risky behavior? Who is security aware? If you are a mobile device worker it would be great to hear your understanding of the security of your personal device in the new workplace.

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Striking the Right Balance in the Branch: Experience & Productivity vs. Cost & Efficiency

Talking with customers in various segments, one common trend seems to be emerging for branch deployments:  customers are trying to strike the right balance between 2 opposite ideals. On one side they want to deliver great user experience and drive employee productivity but on the other side they are being asked to reduce cost and operate more efficiently. It is becoming increasing challenging to strike this right balance, especially with newer technologies like virtualization, BYOD and Cloud.

Read More »

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