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Securing the Mobile Experience Made Simpler

It is no longer a question of “if” your organization will face the new reality of mobile device proliferation, just an ever closer “how soon.” Users expect the network to enable trends like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and they aren’t just using smartphones and tablets to be more productive, they are falling in love with them. For businesses, simply allowing access isn’t the answer. It’s a question of relevant, secure access across the entire network, while protecting corporate assets and delivering an optimal user experience. Cisco focuses on exactly that -- how to enable a simple and secure mobility experience, with a consistent end-to-end architecture across wired, wireless and VPN access.

As a cornerstone of this wired-wireless access architecture, the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) has already been helping customers like Whittier Union High School, San Antonio Water System and BlueWater Communications Group apply consistent security across the entire network through a centralized, single policy source.

Whittier Union High School District, a California high school district serving more than 13,600 students, was facing the challenge of mobile devices. Both faculty and students were bringing their personal devices on campus, many for educational apps and tools.

“It’s becoming increasingly critical to provide employees, students, and visitors access to our network and extensive educational resources given the growing expectations of our tech-savvy population,” stated Karen Yeh, Director of Information Technology, Whittier Union High School District.

Whittier needed a way to apply differentiated policy across their student and staff populations, somehow managing access for both personal and corporate devices, all without increasing IT resources. Karen called Cisco, and two weeks later her team was deploying the Cisco ISE, implementing a single point of security policy for their networks across wired, wireless and VPN. Considering that Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the US went to Whittier High School, the flexible network access enabled by Cisco ISE may be empowering the next generation of leaders, scientist or artists. But, mobile devices aren’t confined to education. San Antonio Water System, a public utility owned by the city of San Antonio, is seeing surprisingly similar issues.

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Collaboration: We Have the Technology

October 20, 2011 at 11:39 am PST

Collaboration has always been an important factor for successful businesses. Heck, it’s an important factor for successful relationships, conversations, parking-lot navigation. Wherever more than one person is involved in a process of any sort, collaboration is a must for that process to succeed. 

Collaboration, plain and simple.

So (don’t tell my manager this…), it was initially a bit funny to me that we would have a “Collaboration architecture.”  I got the whole Data Center thing – a data center is and always has been a big ol’ box of technology. But to me, collaboration was always a human interaction, relationship, agreement to cooperate. Maybe it’s all of the organic vegetables and driving a hybrid that kept me resistant to considering collaboration as a technology architecture. Read More »

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Developers, Developers Developers! Cius Developer Program and Droidcon London 2011

In a classic performance, captured here on Youtube, Steve Balmer does a pretty good job of illustrating his feelings on the importance of developers. We share his enthusiasm.

You have probably already heard that we have an enterprise tablet, the Cius, with corporate telepresence, baked-in security/encryption, VXI, docking stations, display out and a bunch of other features that make it the ideal corporate citizen. One of those features of particular note to developers is the enterprise app store, AppHQ. The AppHQ makes it easier for Cius owners to find apps, while providing an easy route to market for developers. Of course, things like the AppHQ are far more interesting when well stocked with interesting apps, which brings us to the next point…

Cius Developer Program

Speaking of developers, Cisco has a substantial developer network, not surprisingly called the Cisco Developer Network. Better yet, part of that larger effort is the Cius Developer program. We make it easy. Cius uses the popular Android OS, the apps you write will appear in the Cisco AppHQ (if you charge for your apps, you get 70%) and we will help you along the way, with forums, extensive documentation including a solid API reference, and sample code and apps. By the way, did you know what 85% of the Fortune 500 use Cisco Unified Communications?

Droidcon

To help get the word out on the Cius Developer program, Cisco will be at Droidcon London. Participate in our “Crack the Code” breakout session with Marcus O’ Sullivan, Business Development at Cisco on the first day at 2:40 PM in room two. Then, have a drink on us; we’ll be sponsoring drinks later in the exhibit hall. On the second day, Tim Stone, Cisco Business Development Director will give a key note on the insights on enterprise mobility strategies first day at 9:35 AM in the auditorium.

If you miss some of these events, that’s okay, you can always drop by our booth, [booth number] any time—you wouldn’t be able to miss it. Bring some ideas, we’ll be glad to chat with you about the possibilities that are out there for you.

We are also giving away two Cius tablets at Droidcon—just drop your business card off at one of the events or at our booth and we will pick two winners!

So, if you can, please join us at Droidcon – we look forward to hearing from you. If you can’t make it to Droidcon, we certainly encourage you to join the Cius Developer Program.

Remember, there are lots of ecosystems out there but the good ones all have one thing in common…

Developers, developers, developers!

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Tablets Welcomed: Will you create the “killer” enterprise app?

Last week’s blog highlighted ways you can improve the user experience by preparing your network to meet the challenges associated with the sea of devices entering the corporate networks. Ultimately however, productivity is not only going to be depended on the freedom to choose a device, or the ease of access to information, or the quality of the connection when consuming bandwidth intensive content. It will largely be depended on the tools available on those devices – in other words “the apps”.

Most desk-bound knowledge workers will be quite content using existing productivity tools such as word processing, spreadsheet, or presentation software already available in the various app stores. There will however be many other types of workers that can tremendously benefit from having applications that are turbo-charged with network intelligence.

What do I mean by that? Well, you will just have to watch the video where Jagdish Girimaji, product manager for the Mobility Services Engine (MSE), outlines what network information can be exposed to make tablet applications more intelligent.

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Tablets Welcomed. Can Your Wireless Network Support the User Experience Expected of These Sleek Devices?

Ok, so maybe you are starting to give in to the idea that, employees bringing personally owned tablets at work, is indeed not a fad and you have to deal with it. You have decided on a BYOD strategy that protects company and network resources, while (mostly?) satisfying user appetite for connectivity anywhere from any device.

Great! Now. Is your 802.11n wireless network capable of delivering the user experience that is associated with these new sleek gadgets?

If you thought your network is “good enough”, then think again. This client wave is about to disrupt everything in multiple ways.

  • First, more devices on the network translate to significantly higher demands for bandwidth. In many cases bandwidth requirements can grow exponentially because the ratio of user to devices is no longer 1:1 but 1:2 and often 1:3. We therefore expect to see network utilization significantly rise over time.
  • Second, tablet form factor now allows users to truly be mobile. Unlike laptops, users can now walk/move and be productive at the same time. This new type of behavior will increase the number of clients roaming between access points.
  • Finally, it has been observed that tablets are primarily used for content consumption (as opposed to creation), and video is one of the predominant types of content being consumed, which further complicates bandwidth issues, but also creates new challenges.

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