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Cisco CIO Summit 2012: Starting with the customer, and ending with IT in mind

We’ve all heard the sayings “put the customer first” and “the customer is always right.”  According to Forrester Research, the days of manufacturing, distribution, and information being the primary ways successful companies dominate their industries are gone, and the new “age of the customer” is here. Newly empowered, informed, and demanding buyers are radically redefining the conversations, strategies, and planning of top IT leaders around the world. This year at the CIO Summit hosted by Cisco, I had the privilege to engage with seventy-eight Chief Information Officers from large enterprises and organizations who shared similar sentiments. 

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Bring Your Own Margarita (I Mean Device) – Architectures, Design, and Operation

November 1, 2012 at 10:51 am PST

Mobility allows the expansion of Information Technology (IT) resources and application availability at anytime, anywhere, and in any possible way. Historically, many thought that “the movement” of bring your own device (BYOD) was simply a marketing tactic. However, BYOD is definitely a reality that has become crucial when trying to improve efficiency in the workplace.

Every single day a new mobile gadget is released to the market (for example, tablets, mobile phones, and many other mobile systems) and we all live in a connected world 24 hours a day 7 days a week. All these devices and social applications are introducing many security risks for enterprises and public sector organizations. These risks include threats of data theft, not only with very sophisticated attacks, but also with incidents as simple as just stealing mobile devices. Many of these devices can contain private and corporate information.

The question now is, how can we provide the benefits of  improving user productivity and flexibility without compromising network security? The Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility client and the Cisco ASA 5500 Adaptive Security Appliances allow users to connect to their corporate network from any device based on comprehensive secure access policies. The Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client can work in conjunction with the Cisco IronPort Web security appliances and provides integration with ScanSafe.

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National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Closing Thoughts (All Treats, No Tricks)

BGP = big, ghoulish pumpkinHere we are, 31 October, and ready to bang on doors and ask for candy with the playful question of ‘Trick or Treat?’  How fitting to sum up a month of thought-provoking posts regarding National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NSCAM) whereby our ‘interconnectedness’ requires each of us to be more vigilant than ever. Every time we knock on one of the Internet’s doors, what we receive in return may not be what we’re expecting. Goblins and other nefarious creatures continue to lurk in dark spaces as well as the bright light of day.

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Data Security Challenges in the All Too Public and Not So Private Sectors

What an incredible time to be in Information Technology! Look at what has been transforming right before our very eyes in just the past two years. Exciting? Yes! Humbling? Yes! Scary? Absolutely…

While we are engrossed in watching these new technologies slowly become part of our everyday environment, we are constantly reminded that there is a dark side to all of this that, at times, we often brush aside as we intone, “It can’t happen here, not to us!”

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Help! I Need to Respond to All These Cisco IOS Software Vulnerabilities and I Cannot Scale!!!

October 23, 2012 at 7:32 am PST

No software is immune to security vulnerabilities. The time between the discovery and disclosure of security vulnerabilities and the availability of an exploit is getting shorter. This imposes pressures on network security professionals and information technology (IT) managers to quickly respond to security vulnerabilities or apply mitigation in their network. Many organizations are struggling to keep up-to-date with the constant release of new vulnerabilities and software fixes. At the same time, they are under pressure to provide near 100% availability of key business services and systems.

Note: Cisco has a very robust vulnerability management process. This process is described in detail at Cisco’s Security Vulnerability Policy. The Cisco Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) manages the receipt, investigation, and public reporting of security vulnerability information that is related to Cisco products and networks.

As an example, every time Cisco discloses a security vulnerability for Cisco IOS Software (or any given product), network security administrators have to identify affected devices and (in numerous cases) upgrade such devices. These activities can take hours, days, or even weeks depending on the size of the organization. For instance large enterprises and organizations may have thousands of routers and switches that need to be assessed for the impact of any given vulnerability.

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