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The Importance of Security Skills in Today’s Workplace

Information technology and its use have transformed every aspect of society. In today’s digital economy, every company requires effective security to protect their information. Security breaches mean lost intellectual property, compromised customer information, and reduced customer confidence. These are critical considerations as organizations become more agile and try to grow their business models to leverage evolving trends of mobility, cloud and digitization.

The number of connected devices alone is expected to grow to 50 billion sensors, objects, and other connected “things” by the year 2020. With this, the number and type of attack vectors will increase, as will the amount of data, creating a daunting challenge for companies and those responsible for defending the infrastructure.

Cybersecurity has expanded from just focusing on building secure technology perimeters, to now also working with business management to reduce security risks – as well as detecting, responding to, investigating and handling security events when they occur. As a result, security is not a point-in-time component, but rather, it must be a part of every deployment, every development and every decision.

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Learning from EDUCAUSE 2015

EDUCAUSE is always one of my favorite conferences, and this year was no exception. While many of the discussion topics weren’t new, they did focus on issues that are gaining steam, such as mobile device management (MDM) and how to prevent cybersecurity breaches. Last week, I shared some of the things I was hearing on the show floor. Now that EDUCAUSE 2015 has wrapped, and I’ve had some time to reflect, I wanted to share a little more about what I learned.

I was lucky enough to speak with a number of educators, IT professionals, and members of the media about trending topics in higher education IT. One of the highlights included a conversation with Campus Technology and Dr. Lance Ford. Dr. Ford is a former teacher and technology coordinator for Howe Public Schools in Oklahoma. The Campus Technology team joined us to discuss the complexity of cybersecurity for students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, the Cisco team was interviewed on-camera by EdTech: Focus on Higher-Ed to discuss the use of collaboration tools in higher education. Check out the photo above and video here of our senior engineer, Kevin Livingston, talking shop with EdTech!

In all of my conversations,  I repeatedly heard the challenge that university leaders are having with the demands that mobile technologies are placing on universities. Today, students are bringing an average of seven to 10 devices to campus, which puts a huge strain on university networks. My conversations with reporters included solutions on how campuses can prepare for the burden of mobility with new technologies to better manage and support mobile networks. Additionally, as classrooms swell with students who are connected 24/7, faculty are wrestling with how to integrate mobility into their courses. How can educators benefit from mobile integration, without creating distractions? It will be interesting to see how universities address mobile expansion, and it’s something we’ll be hearing a lot more about in 2016.

While I loved talking with different educators about how Cisco technology can help them meet their goals, one of the topics that grabbed attention on the floor was the Cisco Network Academy. Cisco is an education company, and the Cisco Network Academy is an IT skills and career building program that helps students succeed in the post-graduate world. Today’s digital natives are tomorrow’s global citizens, and to bring our students into leadership roles, we must give them opportunities – as early as possible – to build skills essential to their future. Check out more about the Cisco Network Academy here!

Overall, EDUCAUSE 2015 was filled with enlightening and engaging conversations between universities, technology companies, and the media about the major trends in education IT. What new problems are universities facing? And how can we use technology to address these issues? By thinking creatively about how technology tools that support education, we all have the power to help our students Learn Without Limits. If you attended EDUCAUSE this year, let me know about your experience – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Happy National Cyber Security Awareness Month!

Did you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? Here at Cisco, we understand how important cybersecurity is in today’s interconnected world. Because the Internet touches an increasingly large part of our lives, it’s necessary to engage and educate the public about how to stay protected. While we highlight the importance of cybersecurity in October, at Cisco we have initiatives and programs in place to make sure the education continues throughout the rest of the year as well.

We start from the inside out, making sure that our own employees are fully educated and trained in the latest in cybersecurity. Our Cisco Security Ninja Program, which challenges participants to reach for higher degrees of competency and proficiency in product security, has been a huge success. Employees can earn four distinct belts– white, green, blue, brown and black – that represent their advancing cybersecurity knowledge. Additionally, we offer a program in conjunction with San Jose State University that enables Cisco employees to earn their Master’s degree in Software Engineering with an emphasis in Cybersecurity. Plus, every year we have an internal conference on security – SecCon – that brings together hundreds of engineers from Cisco offices around the globe to share their knowledge and increase the overall security posture of Cisco products. All of these programs help ensure that our own employees are experts at the latest in cyber protection.

Beyond ensuring that our own employees are well-educated, we’re committed to spreading awareness about cybersecurity to the general public as well. One of the programs we’re most proud of is our Cisco Network Academy. Cisco Networking Academy helps one million people each year develop technical skills and prepare for ICT careers. The curriculum – which includes courses on cybersecurity – is offered by more than 9,000 institutions in more than 170 countries. After all, in a world that is increasingly connected, cybersecurity is a global issue, not just a local one. Read More »

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Acquisition of Lancope to Boost Cisco’s Cybersecurity Threat Defense Capabilities

As enterprises digitize their businesses and 50 billion devices come online over the next five years, cyber attackers are perpetually trying to stay one step ahead of these trends and becoming more adept at exploiting security weaknesses and avoiding detection. To help customers address these nascent risks, Cisco is focused on delivering solutions across the extended network, what we call Security Everywhere. We are embedding threat protection capabilities from the enterprise infrastructure to the data center, from mobile to the cloud, and through to endpoints.

To address this proliferation of security threats and help our customers protect their networks and endpoints, we are pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire privately-held Lancope, Inc. Lancope, through its StealthWatch system, provides network behavior analytics, threat visibility and security intelligence to protect enterprise networks against today’s top threats.

Lancope has been part of Cisco’s security solution for many years through a successful commercial relationship and now we are coming together as one team. Our combined solutions help secure customers’ resources and critical assets by using their network as a sensor—extending protection further into their networks and allowing them to see more threats and to identify these threats faster. Together, Cisco and Lancope will advance Cisco’s Security Everywhere strategy of providing advanced threat protection across the full attack continuum—before, during and after an attack.

The acquisition of Lancope compliments our other recent security acquisitions including OpenDNS, Portcullis, and Neohapsis. We look forward to welcoming the Lancope team to Cisco’s Security Business Group led by David Goeckeler, senior vice president and general manager. We expect the acquisition to close in the second quarter of Cisco’s current fiscal year.

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Our Commitment to Cybersecurity Education and Training

Did you know that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? Here at Cisco, we understand how important cybersecurity is in today’s interconnected world. Because the Internet touches an increasingly large part of our lives, it’s necessary to engage and educate the public about how to stay protected. While we highlight the importance of cybersecurity in October, at Cisco we have initiatives and programs in place to make sure the education continues throughout the rest of the year as well.

We start from the inside out, making sure that our own employees are fully educated and trained in the latest in cybersecurity. Our Cisco Security Ninja Program, which challenges participants to reach for higher degrees of competency and proficiency in product security, has been a huge success. Employees can earn four distinct belts– white, green, blue, brown and black – that represent their advancing cybersecurity knowledge. Additionally, we offer a program in conjunction with San Jose State University that enables Cisco employees to earn their Master’s degree in Software Engineering with an emphasis in Cybersecurity. Plus, every year we have an internal conference on security – SecCon – that brings together hundreds of engineers from Cisco offices around the globe to share their knowledge and increase the overall security posture of Cisco products. All of these programs help ensure that our own employees are experts at the latest in cyber protection.  Read More »

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