Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Small Business

Are You Aware of the Dangers Lurking in Free Apps?

Though fun and even useful, free apps can pose security risks to your users and your business

The old adage “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” has more than a kernel of truth to it when it comes to free applications. Free apps seem harmless, and they’re very tempting. Who doesn’t want a free version of Angry Birds? What’s wrong with a free banking app from your credit card company? But even if the app itself is legitimate and thoroughly vetted, it can still pose a security risk to the device it’s running on. Free apps are more dangerous to your employees and your network than they appear at first glance.

People can easily download a wide range of free apps for their smartphones and tablets as well as for your company’s computers. From wildly popular games like Angry Birds Space (which was downloaded three million times in only three days) to fitness trackers and social media tools, there’s a free app for anything anyone would want to do on his or her mobile device. Likewise, the Internet is teeming with free apps to customize desktops and work more easily. But the problem with free is that the program use is almost always paid for through advertising or information gathering—and it’s in those aspects where the danger often lies. Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

Cisco’s VNI Global IP Traffic Forecast: A Predictor of Economic Growth?

Last week, Cisco announced its latest Cisco Visual Networking Index Global IP Traffic Forecast, 2011-2016 from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The report showed that global Internet traffic is expected to grow four-fold over the forecast period, reaching 1.3 zettabytes annually by 2016.  And the total number of network connections will grow to 19 billion, or 2 and half connections for every Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Government At Your Service, Anytime, Anywhere – Securely

President Obama is taking the US government mobile.

Recently, the President issued an executive order memorandum to his department and agency heads calling on them to embrace mobile technology to deliver more data, more efficiently. The order requests agencies to follow a new technology strategy called the “Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People,” which includes the request for a road-map for responding to the technology transformations of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobile device proliferation.

Many organizations are already embracing mobile devices with over 95% of them allowing employee-owned mobile devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace according to recent research sponsored by Cisco. Not only do we expect our employers to allow us to use our personal devices, we want to gain access to new products and services—from the private and public sector organizations. So, yes Mr. President, “Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere, and on any device,” And –nice timing on this order, welcome to Silicon Valley-high tech land—I saw you fly in two week ago from the Saratoga hills!

Cisco shares this same sentiment of allowing people to use any device their way without compromising the organization. Cisco announced their answer to the BYOD (bring your own device)—with BYOD Smart Solution which starts with Cisco validated designs and professional services that can guide you from planning and design through day-to-day operations. It combines array of products starting with the core tenants of access points, security, controllers and network management. To address a key concern of the mobile experience, security, Cisco uniquely offers unified policy for secure access – Identity Services Engine (ISE) and next generation remote access, AnyConnect—for always on secure remote access. And most recently, Cisco also spoke to a “Your Way” mobile experience which includes the core components and then some –which allows for more efficiencies and collaboration resulting in more productivity. Mr. President and US citizens this is very achievable!

Citizens of US –I would like to hear your thoughts on gaining Federal services from your mobile device –which services would be a priority for you? Why? Do you have any concerns? What is your number one concern?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Consumerization of Popcorn… and IT

Technology continues to change not only the tools we use, but the language we use to describe it. Wikipedia describes consumerization as:

…an increasingly accepted term used to describe the growing tendency for new information technology to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business and government organizations.

Consumerization absolutely affects technology, but confining the definition to information technology too narrowly defines it. The etymology pins the emergence of the term itself as early as 2001, which is a long time in dog years and at least a half century in technology. But the concept goes back far before Y2K. I could delve into Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, but I’ll stick to less distant history.

Before we get to IT, consider the impact of consumerization on time and choice.

Consumerization & Time
In some ways, our experiences with consumer technology have changed the very speed at which we live our lives. We don’t make time for things the way we used to. We want them now.

It’s the popcorn. OK, it’s the microwave oven. Food is both a human necessity and great motivator. The microwave changed our concept of time and convenience. We haven’t abandoned traditional cooking, but how often do you compare the conventional-oven directions to those for the microwave and think, “I want this to take 45 minutes, 3 minutes just isn’t long enough to wait”?

Popcorn showcases the evolution of our concept of time. Once upon a time, popcorn preparation was at least a 12.4-minute process, start to finish, including the ceremonial melting of butter and cleanup. Plus it required mastering the technique of keeping the pan in constant movement, carefully timing removal to optimize the number of kernels popped.

The mid-1970s arrival specialized popcorn appliances and Jiffy Pop brought popcorn faster and required less clean-up time, while largely eliminating the need for technique. Satisfaction came more quickly and with reduced effort.

And then came the microwave oven and magical little flat packages that fluffed up with aromatic salty goodness in three minutes. Clean up consisted of wiping the buttery stuff off your hands and tossing the bag in the trash. Instant gratification. Near zero effort. Our concept of time? Changed forever.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Should IT Fear Mother’s Day?

This past weekend was Mother’s Day here in the United States, and being a mother of two high-tech savvy teenage children, I pondered what my kids has in store for me. I was surprised with the latest iPad! Eventually, I started asking myself: would Cisco allow me to use it for work?

Luckily, Cisco has a BYOD policy in place and a long-term vision for an Any Device, empowering our employees to use the device they want to be productive. For other working mothers who may have also gotten a new iPad or mobile device for Mother’s Day, what does  your company say about using this new personal device? Will you “Lock It Up or Free It Up”? (a notion introduce at RSA conference this year). How will IT department respond to this request?

One of the biggest concerns folks have for BYOD is security. Just this past week, Cisco was showcasing our Secure BYOD solution at Interop, with the TechWiseTV folks sitting down with my colleague Bill McGee to help you answer the call of mobile devices on your corporate network. Take a look at the video for yourself, but blurring the lines between personal and corporate device doesn’t pose such a security challenge anymore. Related to this topic, we are holding a webcast May 16th focused on the Network Built for the Mobile Experience. You can join our CTO and SVP, Padmasree Warrior, along with stories from British Telecom and Eagle Investment on how they are transforming their workplace, and allowing their employees to work “Your Way” without compromising the business. For more details click here, and for those who want to continue this conversation–

Working Mothers: I would like to hear from you – did you get that new mobile device this Mother’s Day or do you already have a neat personal device – Do you bring it into work? Do you share it with your family?

IT departments: What is your BYOD policy is, and are you busy provisioning all those new mobile devices from this past weekend?

Tags: , , , , ,