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Technology Roundup: Routers and Wireless

Looking to connect your business to the world? These resources can help

They’re small, often kept out of view, and rarely thought about beyond the purchase. However, without a reliable router, you can’t securely connect to the Internet. Whether wired or wireless, a router is critical to connecting your company to your world of employees, partners, and customers. A router is also your first line of defense for protecting your network resources against malicious attacks. So choosing the best routing and wireless solutions for your business are key to ensuring that you’re building the right network to support your business today and tomorrow.

In this third installment of our Technology Roundup series, we offer some resources to help you understand routers and wireless networks and make the best decision for your small business network.

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Borderless Networks: Experience Required

In a recent blog, I talked about how recording artists are using the network to create new ways of nurturing customer (or fan) relationships while also building a great marketing base. But as we increasingly move into a world of borderless networks, where traditional, limiting boundaries fall away, we’re seeing a new cultural playground. One that allows us, as users, to connect with what enriches our lives. And that, too, is a powerful force in building relationships and community on the network.

As the explosion of mobile devices continues, and new forms of social media and tools emerge, we are entering an exciting new phase. Because when you start putting these together, along with innovative functionality in the routers and switches that bring those things to life, we have the opportunity to experience things that might have been out of reach in the past.

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Secure Networking for (Really) Small Businesses

Today, Cisco came out with a new wireless VPN firewall specifically designed for the smallest of small businesses. In fact, the router is built for offices with one to five people that need remote access on a secure connection. The new router has what we call “business class” performance without the complexity often found in larger-scale products. Since the Cisco RV110W is designed with the “do-it-yourselfer” in mind, it’s very easy to use, and at $99 it’s affordable, even for extremely small companies.

It’s easy to set up, and requires no IT resources. You just plug it into the network. Partners can put it in place quickly so that you can stay focused on your business and not lose any time. The four-port switch that is integrated into the product lets you connect securely to computers, printers, IP phones, cameras, and other devices.  It works on both Windows and Mac OS-X for remote access to data anytime, anywhere. Also, the high-speed, wireless-N access points give you a faster file transfer time, which increases performance and the coverage area, helping employees to stay productive even if they are not at their desks.

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Cisco Grows Leadership Position in Service Provider Networking

Cisco gained market share in service provider routing and switching in the first quarter of 2011, according to two key analyst reports issued this week.

In an ACG Research blog post issued today, the firm said, “Cisco continues to hold the number one position (in worldwide carrier routing and switching) with 50.3% of total market share…ACG is cautiously optimistic about the future outlook of the market. We see service providers spending on cloud computing and video services and managed services will help drive growth in the remainder of 2011.”

In a press release summarizing Synergy’s recent carrier routing and switching report, it said, “(We) find it notable that Cisco’s market share remains dominant and growing in the face of formidable competition and the ever-changing requirements of network infrastructure. Although there is ample opportunity for other vendors to participate in this market, Cisco still today holds the dominant #1 market share position with nearly 2.5 times greater market share than its closest #2 competitor and over 3 times the amount of market share than its more distant #3 competitor.”  Synergy is forecasting the Service Provider router and switch market to approach 20% growth in 2011.

With Internet and mobile traffic growth, the transition to IPv6 technologies, and new cloud and social computing market opportunities, innovation in service provider networking has never been more important.

Backed by Cisco’s flagship core and edge routing platforms – the CRS-3 and ASR families – we look forward to working with our service provider partners to build out the next-generation Internet and help drive exciting new services in the years ahead.

During Cisco’s Q3FY11 earnings announcement last week, Cisco stated that year-over-year product revenue for the ASR 9000, Cisco’s flagship edge router, had grown at approximately 140%.  Last month, we announced that just one year after it was introduced, the industry-leading Cisco® CRS-3 Carrier Routing System is being adopted faster than the original CRS-1 platform, with 80 customers in more than 30 countries.

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Keeping Your Cards Close to the Vest?

While there is a world of difference between a deck of 52 and a deck of credit cards, it is still wise to hold those payment cards close to the vest. A solid part of protecting those cards from prying eyes is ensuring your insurance firm is compliant with the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard.

Is PCI compliance important to insurers?  Every carrier CTO and CIO I have asked has said , “Yes, it is…and we are working on it now.” I’d venture to say, as with all compliance and risk management it is not a one-and-done effort, as regular reviews are required.

Today, April 14, 2011, Cisco announced its newest work in the area of helping companies across all industries comply with the PCI DSS 2.0 guidelines. And since the PCI DSS guidelines apply to all companies—including insurance—that transmit, process or store credit card transactions and cardholder information, I’ve recorded a video in which I discuss the PCI DSS standard and its applicability to insurance.

Cisco is at the table with its customers when it comes to enabling PCI compliance and is an active member of the Payment Card Industry Securities Standard Council’s Board of Advisors. We completed a new Cisco Design and Implementation Guide that includes 30+ Cisco and technology partner products that have been examined by an auditor.

Technologies involved in the assessment include core routing, switching and wireless, plus collaboration and physical security technologies.

Partners involved with this solution include VCE, HyTrust, RSA, EMC and Verizon Business who is the auditor.

Make sure you don’t show your cards….your credit cards…..at all times.

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