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Driving Conversations on Cybersecurity in the Public Sector

Just like private businesses, public sector organizations are taking advantage of today’s “boundless” infrastructures. They also face the same challenging reality when implementing those networks: a threat to data security. For public sector, the stakes are especially high. The proliferation of hackers, inevitable human errors, bring-your-own-device initiatives and the ever-broadening need to share information weigh heavily on government and education organizations, and consume substantial resources.

Against this backdrop, it’s more important than ever to be constantly discussing and innovating cybersecurity measures to keep networks safe. Cisco is not only an industry leader when it comes to providing cybersecurity solutions and services for the public sector, but it is also helping drive conversations with government and technology leaders around the country. In fact, Cisco will be attending a number of cyber-focused events over the next few months:

Cisco is a proud sponsor of the RSA Conference, an event that helps drive the information security agenda worldwide and plays an integral role in keeping security professionals across the globe connected and educated. Speakers will discuss everything from cloud computing to quantitative security, and include Secretary Jeh Johnson, Department of Homeland Security.

This year’s CyberTexas conference will explore the intersection of cyber security and the ‘Internet of Things’. Cisco’s Kurt Harris, Senior Systems Engineering Manager, is presenting on This session will explore the importance of securing the IoT and how these security challenges impact the enormous opportunity presented by the IoE for public sector in the future. This session will explore the importance of securing the IoT and how these security challenges impact the enormous opportunity presented by the IoE for public sector in the future. This session will explore the importance of securing the IoT and how these security challenges impact the enormous opportunity presented by the IoE for public sector in the future. This session will explore the importance of securing the IoT and how these security challenges impact the enormous opportunity presented by the IoE for public sector in the future. the importance of securing the Internet of Things and how security challenges impact the enormous opportunity presented by the Internet of Everything for public sector in the future. Cisco is also sponsoring the “Securing the Internet of Things” track.

The 2015 Synergy Forum brings together government and industry practitioners driving our collective technology futures to examine the emerging fusion of physical and digital worlds. Gary Neal Akers, senior vice president of Advanced Security Initiatives, Cisco, will take part in a panel on security and the Internet of Things.

Linked by a commitment to cybersecurity, government agencies, intelligence personnel and industry leaders will gather at the 2015 Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium to discuss successful strategies for improving security. In addition to exhibiting its cybersecurity solutions at the symposium, Cisco’s Kapil Bakshi, Distinguished Architect, will be speaking on a panel titled “Secure, Operate and Defend in the Commercial Sector – How Do We Maintain and Increase Cyber Security While Providing Innovation in IT?”

Digital Government Institute’s 8th annual Cyber Security Conference will explore today’s cyber threats and offer an opportunity for those supporting government security initiatives to collaborate on how to detect, protect, and respond to these challenges. Peter Romness, cybersecurity solutions lead, U.S. Public Sector, will be presenting during the show. Cisco is a Gold Sponsor of the DGI Cyber Security Conference.

The NSA Information Assurance Symposium is a biannual forum hosted by the National Security Agency that brings, policy, governance, technology, hands-on training and networking opportunities to attendees from across government, industry and academia. Cisco will be exhibiting at the symposium.

That is quite the cyber roadshow! Also, don’t miss our webinar with GovLoop on April 30th for a discussion on how to stay secure and connected in the age of the Internet of Things. And of course, we will undoubtedly be talking cybersecurity during Cisco Live in San Diego, June 7-11th. If you are attending any of these events, please make sure to stop by and say hello!

 

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Cisco’s First Transparency Report on Law Enforcement Requests for Customer Data

As Cisco’s products and services evolve to new models, we find ourselves coming in contact with our customer’s data more regularly. We approach this role as stewards of this data with our customers interest foremost in our mind. One area of widespread interest as it relates to this data is how we interact with Global Law Enforcement regarding this data.   To that end, today Cisco is launching its first global Transparency Report on Law Enforcement Requests for Customer Data. In this report, Cisco details our principles regarding how we will treat law enforcement requests for customer data if, and when we receive such requests. We also provide specifics regarding how many requests we have received from global law enforcement agencies for our customer’s data.

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An Internet that spurs not strangles innovation

The world we live in today is one where people, process, data and – increasingly – things are connected as never before. The Internet of EveryThing (IoE), is driving the most dynamic area of innovation, creating new business models, economic, social and environmental sustainability and also has fantastic potential to improve our quality of life.

Just imagine: a blind man gaining independence because his once ordinary walking stick is able to communicate with his other senses through sensors, vibrations and GPS technology that guide him through the city maze. Imagine a connected car informed of traffic jams by analyzing traffic patterns and adjusting traffic light operations. Or think of smart manufacturing facilities that cut costs by reducing waste and energy consumption. And these are just the possibilities being realised today. Imagine what the future will look like in 5, 10 or 25 years from now.

We have barely begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible. We don’t know what applications and services will shape the Internet’s future. To continue innovating, we need the Internet to remain open, giving the most creative among us the chance to experiment with daring new ideas.

We also must be sure not to stifle the very innovation that we seek to encourage. If we do so, it could inhibit growth and new ideas alike. This is why today we should focus on putting in place the right policy principles that will further develop this new Internet of Everything.

In policy debates, net neutrality is often understood to mean that all bits should be treated equally, regardless of whether it’s a text, email, picture or video. While at first sight this may sound reasonable, the truth is that such a strict net neutrality principle would become an innovation straight-jacket. It would require us to re-design the Internet as we know it, doing away with tools that have become essential to its success.

Different Internet services have different requirements. It doesn’t really matter if an email arrives now or a second or two later. But if you’re dealing with real-time applications – such as video communication, or buying stocks or monitoring vital signs, delays can have an incredible impact on user experience and effectiveness.

So the truth is that you have to manage internet traffic to make sure that the data that has to get there immediately – does.   This short video explains what traffic management entails and why it is so important.

Reasonable traffic management is so deeply embedded in the Internet’s core structure that it could not operate smoothly without it. This is the case already with the traffic loads of today, let alone in the future. Because management and scheduling are a crucial part of the Internet, we are closely following European efforts to formulate new net neutrality legislation. Cisco believes such legislation has merit but it could also have sweeping implications for reasonable traffic management and new services that would ultimately stifle rather than encourage innovation on the Internet. These implications can and should be avoided.

Fortunately it seems there is an increasing realisation among some policy-makers that net neutrality legislation, necessary as it may be, shouldn’t eliminate reasonable traffic management altogether. That approach would undermine rather than improve the quality of users’ experience. One way to establish net neutrality rules that prevent bad behaviour while maintaining a role for traffic management is to pursue a two-thronged approach where a line is drawn between the types of bad behaviour we do not want to see in the Internet and the necessary and reasonable traffic management techniques that ensure the fast, reliable and scalable networks that we all rely on, and need as consumers.

Equally, there is an emerging consensus that we must avoid overly prescriptive attempts to cast into law lists enumerating or narrowly defining the types of services other than internet access services that we deem “deserving” of specific levels of quality. Such attempts are bound to get it wrong in many cases. Moreover, any such neutrality law would quickly be outpaced and overtaken by reality. Building a Procrustean bed for the Internet is not the way towards a more vibrant digital economy in Europe. It is not necessary to have these prescriptive definitions and conditions on innovation as long as we maintain strong and clear safeguards to ensure an open and reliable Internet.

As the debate on neutrality in Europe enters its final phase, with trialogue negotiations starting this week, we hope the European Parliament will take a fresh look at the issue and we achieve a balanced final outcome.

In essence, the legislation we need should be sturdy enough to hold things together, but flexible enough for Internet entrepreneurs to continue adding new applications and services.

Just think about what the Internet looked like 15 years ago: a handful of wires, noisy connections that would bump you off from time to time, and streaming would be as quick as a snail. We have made huge strides, and we can continue towards an Internet of Everything – a smarter, more productive and efficient way at approaching life. But to get there, striking the right balance in Europe’s regulatory framework is more crucial than ever before.

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Navigating the Journey to the Cloud

Over the years, cloud computing has been at the center of emerging trends including big data, mobility, security and Internet of Things (IoT). Today’s cloud hosting technology feature capabilities such as rapid elasticity, resource pooling and on-demand self-service. Cloud providers are offering customers the ability to consume theses services with flexible service level agreements. Across government, agencies are more empowered than ever to select, implement and utilize these capabilities to efficiently deliver citizen services and transform the business of government.

However, there are important questions about costs and capabilities that cloud adoptees must answer when creating their strategy and choosing their provider.

  1. What does it cost to deploy the services? What are the costs of the onboarding, and potentially, the off-boarding processes?
  2. Do the cloud service capabilities align with the problem that you’re trying to solve?
  3. Is the cloud provider capable of delivering the specific services and analytical tools your agency needs?

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Understand how the Intercloud elegantly meets Public Sector IT requirements

Public Sector IT organisations are weary of vendor lock-in. And rightfully so: it is hard to buy cloud services from any supplier you choose and then freely manage these services as if they were part of your own extended private cloud. Main reason: lack of ability to connect different clouds: private, partner, public, etc. Luckily, this barrier is vanishing…

Thirty years ago, Cisco pioneered a strategy to connect previously isolated, heterogeneous networks, which lead to the rise of the Internet as we know it. Now, Cisco is embarking on a journey just as ambitious: the connection of multiple isolated clouds, leading to the creation of the Intercloud: an interconnected cloud of clouds.

Intercloud

The Intercloud relies on a five key principles and technologies, summarised below:

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