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“Is It Time To Become a Collaboration Technology Broker?”

It’s no coincidence that when choosing where to work, Type A personalities gravitate to organizations at the leading edge of their chosen field or that enable them to make a real difference. But gone are the days when you see “cell phone provided” in a job offer.  I don’t think I’ll choose my next employer based on what collaboration tools they provide, but I will make a point of measuring how seriously they take collaboration and how it fits into their operations. For me it will always be an important selection criterion.

They say “people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.”  I think people leave cultures that hinder them for ones that promise to set them free.

With so many disruptive technologies and deployment options, it can be difficult for IT teams to support broadening and challenging business needs. Increasingly, and often out of frustration around ‘Slow IT’, individual business units are acting as buying centers themselves; creating an issue of ‘shadow IT’.

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Protect Yourself Against the Next Security Flaw in the Cloud—Understand Shadow IT

Recently, a bug in Internet Explorer made it possible for hackers to take over a user’s computer causing government agencies to suggest using a different browser. The Heartbleed flaw opened the door for encrypted data to be intercepted. These latest challenges highlight one thing inherent to any application—whether on premise or in the cloud—it is not if but when the next flaw or bug will present exposure risks to your business. The key is to be prepared with a solid response strategy.

In two short years, 50% of Global 1000 companies will have customer data in the cloud according to Gartner. With more and more critical information moving to the cloud, IT needs to understand how cloud providers are responding to protect their data and users when these security challenges present themselves. For cloud services that IT is aware of, businesses can establish service level agreements and other safeguards to protect the integrity of their information.

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How IT Leaders Can Embrace the Change that Comes with Network Programmability

The programming of network resources is not just a trend, but also a way to future-proof IT and business needs. This blog series examines how infrastructure programmability is providing a faster time to competitive advantage and highlights the differences between programmable infrastructure and traditional infrastructure, and what programmability means for your entire IT infrastructure.

To read the first post in this series that defines infrastructure programmability, click here.

To read the second post in this series that discusses benefits of network programmability, click here.

According to a recent Network Computing article, changes in network virtualization (overlaying virtual networks over a physical infrastructure) and network programmability (provisioning and controlling its behavior) are causing some to wonder what’s in store for the networking profession.

These changes mean that our skill sets will evolve and our jobs will get more interesting. As the need to build more agility into IT systems becomes more urgent, we are looking for ways to reduce complexity, drive simplification and reduce costs to invest in new initiatives that are critical to the business. We must free up resources so that IT can build new capabilities and provide faster time to new business competitiveness. How can we do this? A new model for IT – one that is simple, smart and secure.

 The programming of network resources is not just a trend, but also a way to future-proof IT and business needs.  View Executive Perspectives.

The programming of network resources is not just a trend, but also a way to future-proof IT and business needs. View Executive Perspectives.

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How are Cloud Services Challenging the Network?

The seemingly endless demand for Cloud Services is driving the need for more data center capacity. This trend is also driving the need for greater bandwidth and intelligent networks for users to access these Cloud services. It is not just Enterprises driving demand for data center capacity from companies like Salesforce.com or Amazon Web Services by using public Cloud services.  Social media companies like Facebook,  Google and Yahoo are expanding their own data centers to meet escalating user growth. So how are companies going to change their data center infrastructure to meet this growing demand?

From an Enterprise perspective, the Cloud business model is too compelling to ignore. The Cloud offers an elastic model that allows infrastructure capacity to be increased and decreased on demand. The Cloud’s usage-based model helps enterprises increase business agility and reduce costs by reducing or eliminating the need for their own data center infrastructure. Despite all the benefits, some enterprises have been cautious about moving to the Cloud because of concerns about availability, security, and application performance.

So how can Cloud Service Providers convince Enterprises that their Cloud services address these concerns? By ensuring that the Cloud provider infrastructure -- that includes servers, networking equipment, applications, and services -- are highly available, secure, tightly interconnected and offer excellent application performance. This will enable the Cloud providers to further differentiate their services from other providers and monetize the cloud based revenue opportunity. It is important to note that some Enterprises are also offering their own Cloud services to create new revenue streams. Apple’s iCloud is a perfect example for an Enterprise delivering cloud services from their own data centers or private cloud.

So how will Enterprises and Service Providers deliver scalable, secure and optimized applications from the Cloud? The evolution of networking infrastructure to meet these demands is commonly referred to as IP next-generation networks (IP-NGN). The IP NGN provides the network infrastructure that connects users and enterprises to the Cloud with high-availability, leveraging cloud resources across geographically distributed data centers using Cisco’s  data center interconnect (DCI)  technologies.

Cisco first addressed this trend with the Cisco 7200 Series of routers, however with the growing demand for bandwidth it soon became necessary to develop a new platform that could handle multiple services, with higher availability, higher throughput, enhanced security and an optimized application experience. The new platform was the Cisco Aggregation Services Router 1000 Series . Both Enterprises and Service Providers have embraced the ASR 1000 across the globe and demand has driven the need for different sizes of ASR 1000 platform with different throughputs and port density without compromising on the ASR 1000 core values.

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How Anyone in Any Industry Can Get Started in Cloud

In today’s business landscape, cloud adoption and deployment is more than just a technical discussion. It’s really a choice about how to operate your business, regardless of what industry or vertical your organization is affiliated with.

However, as a former CIO, I understand that many CIOs are more concerned with the challenges they face when moving to the cloud than the benefits they can achieve.

For example, in the past, all of your company information and applications were locked-up behind a firewall. As such, none of your customers or remote employees could gain access to your network. Now, through clouds, you can put your business out in the world – where your customers, employees, partners and more can gain access. It’s truly making business more accessible, in an incredibly flexible way – but it can be a daunting process.

Recently, I had the chance to participate in a new Cloud Insights Video Podcast and share how all verticals face similar challenges when it comes to cloud. It probably comes as no surprise that the key areas of concern are security and privacy.

So, how can CIOs address these challenges?  

Go find the right partner.

Security and privacy are very real challenges, and it’s the CIOs job to address them, but he/she doesn’t have to go at it alone. Businesses should look for a cloud service provider to become a trusted business partner. When a business is looking for a cloud service provider to host its application or data, the main questions that arise are:

    • How are we going to ensure security?
    • How will I maintain control over the data and applications that I put in the cloud?
    • How do I maintain visibility?

When these questions about control and visibility are answered, it inevitably leads to trust. And when a CIO feels there is a level of trust for information and application security within the cloud, it ripples down through the organization, ultimately empowering customer relationships.

It’s transformational when a CEO can say to customers, “We do have that level of control and visibility and you can look to us to take care of your information.”

As organizations in various verticals look to move past security concerns, CIOs need to find a partner they trust and start a conversation, they may be surprised at how quickly some of their concerns can be mitigated.

Visit Cloud Executive Perspectives to get additional cloud insights for IT leaders and subscribe to the Cisco Cloud Insights video podcast channel on iTunes or via RSS.  Additional Cisco Cloud Insights videos can also be found here.

Follow @CiscoCloud and use #CiscoCloud to join the conversation!

Cloud Insights: How Anyone in Any Vertical Can Get Started in Cloud from Cisco Business Insights

 

Additional Resources:

In the same video podcast series:  How Cisco IT Solved Its Internal Cloud Dilemma by Didier Rombaut via #CiscoBlog

Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration.  Join our webcast to learn how the Cisco InterCloud solution helps ensure the same network security, quality of service (QoS), and access control policies previously enforced in the data center are implemented in the public cloud.  Wednesday, May 14, 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time / 12:00 pm Eastern Time

Cisco Solutions for Open and Secure Intercloud Workload Migration. Join our webcast to learn how the Cisco InterCloud solution helps ensure the same network security, quality of service (QoS), and access control policies previously enforced in the data center are implemented in the public cloud. The webcast is available on demand.

Watch the Cisco Intercloud Workload Migration Webcast  (available on demand)

Register for @CiscoLive May 18-22 2014 — San Francisco #CLUS:

Register today for the Cisco Powered Cloud Day at Cisco Live on Monday, May 19. The insightful day will focus on opportunities and challenges that can be addressed with cloud.

Watch Cisco Live’s Technology Business Vision  keynote by Rob Lloyd on Tuesday, May 20 at 10:00 a.m. PDT.

Watch Cisco Live’s Cloud Technology Trend Keynote – Aligning Your Strategy and Business for Cloud Success by Dr. Gee Rittenhouse and Faiyaz Shahpurwala on Tuesday, May 20 – 1:30 p.m. PDT.

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