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CSO Professional Women’s Day: The Power of “Story”

Growing up, my grandfather and I were very close.  As a boy and young man, I learned a lot about the world from the stories he would tell me on his porch in Chicago about his life growing up black in the segregated south, the lessons he learned trying to fit in when he moved to the north, and his hopes for his sons and daughters—and their children—to have opportunities that he did not have.  I knew from the way he told his stories, that he was sharing special and life changing knowledge.  I would do my best to sit still and listen hard so I would remember every word.

Last week a group of 650 women from Cisco and our customers, came together in person and via Telepresence to take part in an exciting and meaningful event called the CSO Professional Women’s Day.  This gathering is a great example of the power of sharing special and life changing knowledge. The event was started three years ago by Padmasree Warrior and the women on her team as a way to share inspiring stories of personal and professional experiences – extending that “porch” in my mind.

This year the theme was Presence & Bravery and I have to tell you, all of us were doing our best to sit very still and listen hard so we would remember every word.

  • Two-star Michelin Chef Dominique Crenn energetically urged us to embrace diversity in all its forms and help connect the world by creating the platform for conversation, which is what she aspires to do every day through her food.
  • Jacqueline Novogratz, the CEO and Founder of Acumen, took us from Wall Street to Rwanda where combined her banking expertise with a passion for equality to help victims of poverty through microfunding. Her wisdom was clear in all her stories, “Courage is taking on the status quo and speaking your truth, even if it’s through trembling lips.”
  • Our Ted Talk-style panel offered us new points of view from a rock-star millennial to a pharma executive (Laura Hamill) to a woman who re-invented her career (Karine Allouche Salanon).  Winning the prize for presence was Isabella Panisci, our rock-star millennial, whose wisdom was as profound as it was fundamental, “Don’t raise quitters.”
  • Finally, leader, author, gospel singer and 20-year Wall Street veteran Carla Harris brought her leadership wisdom to life with dynamic, humorous and insightful stories that convinced us that it is always worth taking a risk because “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” and failure brings the gift of experience.

These amazing women inspired us all and demonstrated the importance and power of inclusion, diversity and “porch” wisdom. I am committed to sponsoring this event next year and I’m looking forward to driving more great forums like the CSO Professional Women’s Day in the future. Let’s keep on moving together.

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Piston Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has fundamentally altered the IT landscape: dramatically boosting IT agility, while lowering costs. To realize the business advantages of cloud, organizations are shifting to a hybrid IT model—blending private cloud, public cloud, and on-premise applications.

To help customers maintain control and compliance in this hyper-connected, hyper-distributed IT environment, Cisco and its partners are building the Intercloud—a globally connected network of clouds. Today, Cisco is taking another important step towards realizing our ambitious Intercloud vision. We are pleased to announce our intent to acquire Piston Cloud Computing, which will help accelerate the product, delivery, and operational capabilities of Cisco Intercloud Services.

Paired with our recent acquisition of Metacloud, Piston’s distributed systems engineering and OpenStack talent will further enhance our capabilities around cloud automation, availability, and scale. The acquisition of Piston will complement our Intercloud strategy by bringing additional operational experience on the underlying infrastructure that powers Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud. Additionally, Piston’s deep knowledge of distributed systems and automated deployment will help further enhance our delivery capabilities for customers and partners.

To bring the world of standalone clouds together, Cisco and our partners are building the Intercloud. The Intercloud is designed to deliver secure cloud services everywhere in the world. Our enterprise-class portfolio of technology and cloud services gives customers the choice to build their own private clouds or consume cloud services from a trusted Intercloud Provider. The Intercloud provides choice of services, all with compliance and control. In a nutshell: we’re delivering cloud the way our customers need it.

Piston will join our Cloud Services team under the leadership of Faiyaz Shahpurwala, senior vice president, Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Services Organization.

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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Embrane

With agility and automation as persistent drivers for IT teams, the need to simplify application deployment and build the cloud is crucial for the data center.

Today, Cisco is pleased to announce its intent to acquire Embrane, a provider of a lifecycle management platform for application-centric network services.

As we continue to drive virtualization and automation, the unique skillset and talent of the Embrane team will allow us to move more quickly to meet customer demands. Together with Cisco’s engineering expertise, the Embrane team will help to expand our strategy of offering freedom of choice to our customers through the Nexus product portfolio and enhance the capabilities of Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

With this acquisition, we continue our commitment to open standards through programmable APIs and multi-vendor environments. More importantly, we remain committed to the rich ecosystem of partners and customers in production through the automation of network services, cloud and system management orchestration and automation stacks.

The Embrane team will be joining the Insieme Business Unit. We expect the acquisition to be complete before the end of the current quarter.  Financial terms are not disclosed.


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Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Neohapsis

Today, businesses are looking at security in a strategic, comprehensive way to protect mission critical processes and assets. There has never been a greater need to understand the impact that security threats can have on a company’s bottom line. For these reasons, experienced security advice is now among the table stakes required to assess and address the threat landscape that faces enterprises today. The skills and capabilities companies need to maintain a strong security posture, keep pace with rapidly evolving threats and take full advantage of new technologies that can protect their businesses are rare and difficult to retain.

The right advisory service can change all of that.

I am pleased to announce Cisco’s intent to acquire privately held Neohapsis, a Chicago-based security advisory company providing services to address customers’ evolving information security, risk management, and compliance challenges. Neohapsis provides risk management, compliance, cloud, application, mobile, and infrastructure security solutions to Fortune 500 customers.

Together, Cisco, Neohapsis and our partner ecosystem will deliver comprehensive services to help our customers build the security capabilities required to remain secure and competitive in today’s markets. This will help our customers overcome operational and technical security vulnerabilities, achieve a comprehensive view of their risks, take advantage of new business models, and define structured approaches for better protection.

The Neohapsis team will join the Cisco Security Services organization under the leadership of Senior Vice President and General Manager Bryan Palma. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015. We look forward to Neohapsis’ outstanding team and technology joining Cisco!

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Accelerating open innovation on all fronts at Cisco

I introduced Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) earlier this year as a cornerstone in our strategy of embracing open innovation at Cisco. I also shared how we were extending Cisco EIR and open innovation across the US through local incubation partners, and I announced the launch of Cisco EIR in Europe. Now I would like to share updates on the great progress we are making with Cisco EIR as a catalyst of open innovation at Cisco.

Startups Selected to Join Cisco EIR in Europe

Last week we were excited to announce the six startups that will be joining our Cisco EIR program in Europe at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna. The six winners – innovating in the areas of Smart Cities, Internet of Everything (IoE)/cloud and Big Data/analytics – were chosen through a rigorous multiphase selection process conducted in collaboration with Pioneers. More than 350 applicants from 39 countries applied to join Cisco EIR Europe, with 15 finalists pitching live at the Pioneers Festival in front of Cisco experts and our European partners. Winners were selected based on the viability of their business plans, the strength of their teams and their alignment with Cisco’s IoE vision and strategy.

We were impressed beyond our expectations by the vision, passion, talent and technology of all 15 finalists. These startups made us more excited and convinced than ever that Europe was the right platform to discover and nurture the next generation of disruptive ideas for our industry and for Cisco.

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