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#WednesdayWalkabout Series Finale: Building a Global Digital Community

Co-authored with Dani Schrakamp

We’re ready, are you?

We are now in an age so normalized by the proliferation of technology that the United Nations has declared access to the Internet a basic human right and securing ubiquitous access to high-speed broadband is a common goal around the world. Communities and countries are actively engaged in learning how to best capture the unparalleled advantages that can be realized across the urban landscape. As smart digital communities cover more and more of the global map, the social, economic, political, and environmental benefits afforded to broadly-connected digital societies are becoming crystal clear.

Technology has and will continue to dramatically change the world. It already affects all of our lives in myriad ways. Digital transformation or digitization—the connection of objects, devices, sensors, cameras, machines, and people to the Internet—has now emerged as the most transformative means to ignite sustainable growth and improve society. Those countries and communities that get ahead and embrace digital innovation will uncover limitless possibilities to drive change, embrace economic growth, attract talent for jobs of the future, reduce their carbon footprint, and keep citizens happy and healthy.

Around the World in 106 (Business) Days

Since July, we’ve met you here each Wednesday to discuss and explore important themes, challenges, and observations of digital transformation. We’ve visited cities, countries, schools, hospitals, and businesses around the world that all share one common thread in their story—the quest toward digitization. Taken together, this series demonstrate the significance of digital technology innovation in shaping our future.

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Advanced Malware Protection Can Help Keep Defense Agencies’ Networks Secure

It seems like these days, you can’t read the news without seeing something about a cyberattack or data breach. While the digital economy and the Internet of Everything (IoE) are creating huge opportunities for value creation in both the public and private sectors, they also create huge opportunities for security breaches. With an expanded attack surface created by the IoE, cybercriminals look to take advantage of the influx of new devices and increasing network complexity. While a large cyberattack on a private company might be painful financially, a hack on some of our nation’s defense agencies could hurt much more.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is a high-priority target for hackers of all types, but especially for advanced malware creators who are seeking to steal intellectual property, capabilities and strategies from the U.S. government.  These threats aren’t only isolated incidents from hacktivist groups; they often come from other advanced nation-states. The protection of military information and network assets is a part of national security and the DoD needs the tools to protect itself from cyberattacks.

One way the DoD and other agencies are looking to better protect their networks is by using advanced malware protection (AMP) tools. AMP helps detect “bad” files as they move across a sensor and flags the files for removal so that they don’t corrupt the rest of the network. Cisco’s AMP services are industry-leading; it was named a leader in Gartner Magic Quadrants for Intrusion Prevention Systems in 2014 and improved its position in 2015. It was also tested during NSS Labs’ rigorous next-generation firewall testing and received the highest effectiveness rating possible.

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Figure 1. Gartner’s 2015 Magic Quadrant for Intrusion Prevention Systems

Cisco AMP is unique from its competitors in that it can place sensors throughout the network. Unlike most companies’ sensors, which must be attached to the firewall, Cisco’s sensors are compatible with a large variety of devices and platforms, such as switches, virtual machines and the cloud. By allowing for sensors in other places in the network, Cisco AMP casts a wider and finer net to catch malware.

Additionally, Cisco AMP tracks files throughout the whole network. For most advanced malware systems, a file is only flagged as good or bad when it crosses a sensor. But with Cisco AMP, the file is tracked throughout and continually evaluated. That means if a file was initially tagged as good but more information appears, Cisco AMP can detect that anywhere in the network, flag it, and have the file removed. Continuously monitoring files enables security managers to get rid of corrupted files rapidly – which means the network can recover more quickly as well.

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Figure 2. Point-In-Time Detection vs. Cisco’s Continuous Detection

Another way that Cisco AMP sets itself apart from other security options is through its ability to trace a file’s path and remove other files it has potentially corrupted. The corrupted file is patient zero, but CiscoAMP can find every other patient it touched to ensure the threat is completed eradicated.

As DoD networks become increasingly complex, with more devices requiring access from remote areas, the capabilities Cisco AMP solutions provide will be even more important to ensure these critical networks are secure. No matter how it is utilized, Cisco AMP can help the Department of Defense and other public sector agencies defend their sensitive information from cyberattacks. Click here to learn more about Cisco AMP solutions.

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: The Smart City Revolution

Co-authored with Munish Khetrapal

Upping Your Livability Index

As cities and countries around the globe are facing an onslaught of new and confusing challenges such as urban sprawl, safety and security, traffic congestion, and transportation accessibility, it is increasingly becoming important for public sector leaders to provide smart solutions. And as leaders further embrace the smart city narrative, the main question remains as to how these digital technology solutions will help their citizens and communities.

Motivations for adopting smart city initiatives vary, but one primary reason that has emerged is the desire to enhance ‘livability’. Livability plays an important role in how cities compete with other cities for tax dollars, jobs, residents, employers, investment, and positive perceptions. Improving livability can be seen both as a strategic asset that contributes to growth, and as a key ingredient to happier, healthier citizens. And when push comes to shove, technology is an enabler, not the end game. Putting people in the forefront is key.

Smart City Walking Tour

Throughout this series, we’ve taken you through a whirlwind of important industry trends, smart technologies, and places of digital transformation. At the Internet of Things World Forum that took place in Dubai this week, many of our spotlighted topics converged and took center stage to demonstrate the cross-vertical impact of IoT. In this week’s post, our digital citizen is participating in our IoT World Forum Smart City Experience tour.

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: IoT Changing the Public Safety Landscape

Co-authored with Kacey Carpenter

Technology Changing the Game

The industry continues to change, reflecting both emerging approaches to delivering innovative IT solutions, and also the faster paced, more complex environment faced by government officials. These topics share a common theme – citizen expectations continue to rise. Government leaders must be agile enough to adapt to changing circumstances and to rapidly deliver safer and smarter outcomes for their cities and countries. Considering what will be valuable and critical for success for effectively managing in the digital era, the public sector is increasingly turning to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the immense opportunities it will provide to turn data into insights and drive highly relevant and compelling outcomes.

The IoT has been increasingly influencing the public safety realm. Thanks to the plethora of connected devices that can collect real-time data – such as body-worn cameras – it’s possible to begin leveraging the real-time, actionable data this ecosystem delivers, enabling public-safety professionals to help keep citizens safer and communities more secure. By harnessing IoT technologies for public safety, first responders and law enforcement can more easily respond to emergencies and even prevent situations from turning into emergencies in the first place.

Real-time police operations at IoT World Forum in Dubai

In this week’s post, our digital citizen is back from the future. Our citizen was fortunate enough to jump a week ahead to this year’s IoT World Forum, set to take stage on Dec 6-8 in Dubai. The visit was to witness the demonstration of a solution built from the ground up and customized for the Dubai municipality.  Read More »

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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: Public-Private Partnership is King

Co-authored with Dani Schrakamp

Good for Citizens, Good for Government

Fast. Reliable. Easy to use. As a consumer, this is what I have come to expect from the technology that I use.

Many companies work hard to meet – and exceed – consumers’ technological demands. But in the new digital age in which we live, technology is advancing into all areas of our lives, from transportation to retail to healthcare, and forming a transcendent bond between our physical and digital worlds. As technology crosses into new realms, governments, cities, and countries are being digitized at an increasing pace, and citizens expect the same speed, reliability, and simplicity in these governmental technological advances.

Countries and communities around the world have a responsibility to meet the expectations of their citizens – but their digitization also provides a unique opportunity to position their nations for economic success. In fact, according to research conducted by McKinsey, “digitization of the public sector could free up to $1 trillion annually in economic value worldwide, through improved cost and operational performance.” But what does it mean for a country to ‘digitize’? Cisco defines the process as building a sophisticated technology ecosystem that will allow for greater connectivity, productivity, and security. Sounds like a fantastic idea, no? But how exactly can countries get to this higher ‘digitized’ state of being?

Unlock the Door to Digital Success

In this week’s post, our digital citizen is a renowned business leader tasked with fostering public-private sector partnership initiatives for country digitization efforts. Many countries are making impressive strides in this area. But two countries in particular stand out as the perfect locations for piloting the citizen’s program: France and Israel.

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