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Cisco Celebrates International Girls in ICT Day

Women earn 57% of all U.S. undergraduate degrees but only 18% of undergraduate computer and information sciences degrees, according to the National Center for Women in Technology. Yet according to U.S. Department of Labor estimates, more than 1.4 million computing-related job openings will exist by 2020, with only enough computer degree graduates to fill 30% of them.

And globally, women comprise less than a third of workers in the computer science, engineering, and physics fields in some of the world’s key emerging economies, according to a report by Women in Global Science & Technology.

Attracting more girls and women to the technology field benefits women, their families, their communities, and the businesses they work for. Women are powerful catalysts for change in any society: When women are able to earn an income, they typically reinvest 90 percent of it back into their families and communities.

To help tap this valuable talent pool and attract more women to careers in the information and communications technology (ICT) field, Cisco is participating in Girls in ICT Day – an international event organized by the by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

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National Cybersecurity Center for Excellence: A Promising Fortress

It is one thing to recognize cyber threats and their potential to disrupt entire companies, agencies and institutions. It is another thing to do something about it. In light of recent threats we cannot sit still and wait for the next one.

On February 18, I was honored to join Governor O’Malley, Senator Mikulski, NIST director Pat Gallagher, and Montgomery County Chief Executive Ike Leggett in the partnership agreement signing ceremony to expand the National Cybersecurity Center for Excellence in Montgomery County.  Federal and Maryland officials signed the agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg to develop new cybersecurity technology and educational opportunities. Read More »

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Going Mobile? Get Secure.

There is no turning back from the mobile trend. With more devices comes the insatiable hunger for bandwidth. After devices are connected to the network, IT must make sure each is secured and provisioned. Creativity is needed to handle these high-density environments and enforce proper policies for mobile security, while juggling other responsibilities for the business. That complexity can be a huge headache. IT needs tools that can help make the whole process simple and fast.

Enter Cisco’s secure enterprise mobility solutions. Cisco’s 802.11ac (the latest Wi-Fi standard that enables more devices and bandwidth), Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE), and Cisco TrustSec solutions join forces to simplify the high-density, secure mobility experience.

Join us for an engaging webcast on March 5 and learn how this combined Cisco solution can relieve your mobile device management and security headaches. Hear how Erickson Living, a trusted name in retirement communities known for innovative approaches to supporting resident needs, relied on this Cisco solution to provide high-quality, secure connectivity and a simple user experience.

Register today to learn how Erickson was able to level up to 802.11ac with heavy considerations for mobile security and how Cisco provided the tools to easily manage always-on, secure wireless access.

Get your questions answered with live Q&A. You will not want to miss this webcast. Register here.

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How Next Generation WLAN Optimizes RoboCup at Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College is a liberal arts college based in the town of Brunswick, Maine. It houses 1839 students in about 100 buildings and offers 33 different majors and 4 minors. The Bowdoin IT Team are pioneering in nature as would be expected from the state whose motto, “Dirigo”, translates to “I lead”; adopting bleeding-edge best-in-class technologies to provide the optimal connected experience for students, faculty, staff and guests. This is counter-balanced with pragmatism in phasing the roll-out of these services.

This next generation pervasive WLAN network enables students to collaborate with each other anywhere on the campus and with the teachers in the classroom. In the previous blog in 2012, we described how Bowdoin upgraded to 3602 Access Points and used the innovative CleanAir technology tie-in with Event Driven Radio Resource Monitoring to optimize WLAN coverage. They also adopted the Cisco Prime and ISE 1.2 for manageability and consistent wired-wireless Policy respectively. In this blog, we will cover more details about the recent upgrade of the Wireless LAN Controller from the previous model WiSM to the new model 5760 and describe highlights of our conversation with Jason and Trevor about the WLAN deployment itself.

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Safety first, business second, security none?

Based on 25 years of professional experience in various businesses around the globe, I can say that many industry verticals have a pretty good state of safety culture as it relates to the health and safety of their employees.  This is especially true for companies involved in high-risk businesses such as oil and gas, (nuclear) energy, manufacturing, chemicals, food processing, and so on.  In such industries, it is pretty clear that there is a risk that something may blow up, hurt, or even kill people.

However, it seems that the next big driver for them is business alone, and they are not as focused on information or IT security when it comes to the logic side of security like bits and bytes, document handling of confidential information, and similar subjects.  This is in stark contrast to their keen attention to physical safety and security issues.

It would seem intuitive that any organization with  a commitment to safety by counting (and incentivizing) the hours (days, weeks, months, …) of safety-incident-free time should also be easy to convince that taking a similar approach to information security would be a good thing. But it is not that easy.  Operations in these businesses are very physical, so it is not really in the mind-set of a rig guy or gal, a welder, a component mixer, machine operator, or similar, that another devastating incident (attack) could happen from “within” the system(s), by a human adversary committed to do harm in the interest of their nation state or paying agent.  All those systems in the above mentioned industries that are working at the process level (sensors/actuators, process control, SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) are designed for efficient and effective, good performing, and reliable operation, but they were not really designed and built to resist logic attacks from a human smart guy who can outsmart almost every defense.

In industrial networks, spanning the areas of instrumentation, control bus, operations, business, or enterprise, the often cited Purdue reference model that provides for several “levels” or “zones” of abstraction and segregation can be used.  A really good introduction can be found in the Secure Data Transfer Guidance for Industrial Control and SCADA Systems.

The main security points to address are:

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