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The Best Thinking in Higher Education IT

The largest Higher Education IT event of the year, EDUCAUSE 2013 takes place  in Anaheim, California  October 15-18. We will be there along with about 5,000 key decision makers from the United States, Canada, and around the world.

If you are planning to attend,  visit the Cisco team at booth #601, where we will showcase our Connected Learning solutions for higher education. Stop by and learn how to use your campus network infrastructure to save money, improve efficiency, enhance safety and security, and prepare the next-generation workforce.

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[Summary] How Secure Is Your Mobile Worker?

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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Why Connections (not Things) Will Change the World

Much has been made of the “Internet of Things” and a growing array of “smart” things that will soon change nearly every aspect of our lives — from Google’s driverless car and iRobot’s Ava 500 video collaboration robot to “smart” pill bottles that will automatically renew a prescription and remind you when to take it.

While we often think that it’s all about the things, it’s not actually the “things” that create the value, it’s the connections among people, process, data, and things — or the Internet of Everything—that creates value.

You can see the power of connections by adding a sensor and an Internet connection to any “dumb” thing. Consider, for example, your front door lock. It has no “intelligence” of its own — it’s simply a mechanical device that allows you to open and close the front door of your house. But if you add a sensor with a connection to the cloud, that “dumb” device can take an image of your face, send it to the cloud for analysis, and determine whether or not to let you into the house, based on facial-recognition technology. The lock itself doesn’t have the intelligence or compute power to make this decision, but the cloud does. It’s the connection that makes this “dumb” thing “intelligent.”

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“Network as a Service” Brings the Benefits of Virtualization to Network Operators

carlos-corderoBy Carlos Cordero, Cisco Consulting Services, Service Provider

Cloud consumption models are gaining traction across all company sizes and industries.  Whether software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), or platform as a service (PaaS), the value propositions of virtualization are being sought by IT decision makers.

Cisco Consulting Services sees an opportunity for network service providers (SPs) to deliver a similar experience through a new solution architecture that we call network as a service (NaaS). NaaS does for the network what SaaS and IaaS have done for the data center —  offering many of the same value proposition components, such as lower OpEx and increased agility, as well as new business model levers and distribution benefits.

A Simple NaaS Architecture Delivers Broad Benefits

To illustrate the value, this paper focuses on NaaS for mobile operators, although similar value could be articulated across all SP segments. Today, the various engineering and operational functions required to enable new customers, new services, and repairs are buried behind monolithic and independent network elements. The goal of NaaS is to simplify the architecture through virtualization, bringing disparate software solutions onto common hardware.

At the heart of mobile NaaS is an intelligent core with the service elements needed to deploy mobile data services (Figure 1). Traditionally, each software element runs on dedicated hardware, but under NaaS, these elements are separated so the software can run on shared virtual machines. The model also includes a common storage and compute infrastructure that can be delivered to the intelligent core as needed through a virtual machine approach. The intelligent core should work across a variety of licensed and unlicensed access technologies, shown at right. The active service catalog represents the SP’s ability to create unique service environments by combining service elements in an automated and simplified way. Finally, the secure portal enables consumers and business customers to access and manage their own network instances.

Figure 1.                  Mobile NaaS Is Anchored in a Flexible and Extensible Set of Service Elements. Read More »

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Collaboration, Video and Mobility Drive Value in the Internet of Everything Economy

In the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy, there will be leaders and laggards, winners and losers. And collaboration, video, and mobility technologies will play a crucial role in determining who captures their share of the value at stake, which Cisco projects as a staggering $14.4 trillion. That’s equivalent to a 21 percent increase in corporate profits over the next ten years.

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The Internet of Everything (IoE) is already changing our lives in unimaginable ways as everything from clothing, cars, jet engine parts, and roads, to name a few, become “lit up” with data-generating sensors. The resulting explosion in connectivity among people, processes, data, and things —

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