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How much does telecommuting save, anyway? (Hint: LOTS)

Rely on the trusty Internet Business Services Group within the Cisco to come up with insightful research nuggets on how we all really work.  Their latest IBSG Horizons Study, “The Everywhere Employee“,  gives some fascinating detail on the dollars and sense underlying the idea of working “your way”.

Most interesting to me, of course, is the part about telecommuting.  Did you know that 44% of knowledge workers telecommute at least one day a week?  And that this one day a week alone saves companies $2,400 a year per employee?

So let’s do the math (my favorite part).  In a 10,000 person company, 4,400 employees work one day a week from somewhere else, which translates to a whopping $11 million a year.  Enough to pay for some nice executive bonuses!

This pairs nicely with the findings of a study Stanford University professors published in November 2011, “Does Working from Home Work?”.  They gave an emphatic “yes” and also ran the numbers specific to their use case (which examined full-time telecommuters), located in Appendix A4.

So how does this relate to video? In every way possible. Not only can you use a nice, sleek EX90 TelePresence unit on your home office desk, you can use Jabber video on your tablet. Or take your laptop into the neighborhood coffeeshop and join the video-based Webex meeting (just please remember to mute: coffee grinders are loud).

See you on video!

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The Maginot Line and the TCP Sequence Number Inference Attack

In the recently posted research paper “Off-Path TCP Sequence Number Inference Attack: How Firewall Middleboxes Reduce Security“, Zhiyun Qian and Z. Morley Mao from the University of Michigan discuss a method to try to infer the sequence numbers in use by a TCP connection – and if successful, how to try to hijack the connection and inject data on it in order to, as an example, steal credentials to web sites (banking, social networking, etc.)

Before talking further about their research, I would like to talk a bit about the Maginot Line. The Maginot Line was a line of fortifications located in France, established after World War I, and roughly following France’s borders with Germany and Italy. The idea behind it: in case of another war with Germany, the line would hold the enemy attacks, giving the French Army the chance to regroup and counterattack. The problem: the line only extended so far up North. So during World War II, and instead of attacking the line from the East, the German army completely bypassed it – by attacking Belgium first and then flanking the line.

So a lot of resources were allocated to set-up defenses for a very specific attack scenario – but that scenario never happened, as an easier way was found to bypass the defenses. And the mere fact of allocating so many resources to counter a specific threat significantly reduced the number of resources available to protect against other threats.

The method posited by Qian and Mao on their research paper strongly reminds me of the assumptions made by the French while building the Maginot Line.

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What is a Mobile Device Anymore?

It used to be easy—mobile devices were brick-like devices that we carried with us to make phone calls.  Not anymore. Now we have smartphones, tablets, eReaders, and other devices that we bring everywhere and can’t seem to live without. No longer are we using them just for phone calls. In fact, they are now mobile computers, books, entertainment stations, game consoles, and social tools, in addition to our communications hubs. And, because Wi-Fi has become a prevalent way for many of these devices to connect to the Internet, they’re no longer strictly “mobile,” from a network perspective.

To learn more about what consumers are doing with their mobile devices, and how and where they are using them, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) recently conducted a survey of U.S. mobile users. Following are our top three findings related to mobile devices: Read More »

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Personalizing VNI Service Adoption Forecast Research

With today’s announcement of the latest Visual Networking Index (VNI) research, I’m excited to kick-off a guest blogging series that will highlight the stories behind the complementary VNI Service Adoption Forecast.  This research predicts the future worldwide end user adoption for 27 services across residential, mobile and business categories.

These services range from SMS, mobile banking, location-based services, online gaming, consumer VoIP, mobile video, and many more. While this makes for interesting predictions on where technology will take us, it only generated more questions in my mind.

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NOAA: How Networks are Used in Climate Research

By Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist

Like many of us, scientific researchers tend to be creatures of habit. This includes research teams working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. government agency charged with measuring the behavior of oceans, atmosphere, and weather.

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