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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – February 5, 2016

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Each week, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco Partner Ecosystem news and stories, as well as point you to important, Cisco-related partner content you may have missed along the way. Here’s what you might have missed this week:

Off the Top

You Spoke: Big Data Analytics Drive Faster Time to Services Quotes

Throughout the year, our partners provide feedback to us about their experience doing business with Cisco. Well, as you know, it’s simply not enough to just gather feedback; it’s our duty to you to report back on how we’ve listened and acted on your input.

Our We’re Listening Blog Series allows us to do just that. Check out the latest entry, which discusses improvements around the services ordering process based on customer and partner feedback.

Enroll for VIP 27

It’s that time of year again. Partners can now join our latest period of Value Incentive Program.

VIP 27 offers you the chance to earn rebates when selling targeted Cisco products, architectures, solutions, and services within a six-month rolling period.

The enrollment period has begun, so make your move now.

Good Reads

In the News

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Link Arms Against the Attackers: Observations from the 2016 Cisco ASR

Remember 2007, when the underground economy began to flourish, using simple protocols and static subnet ranges to control their infrastructure? That was the same year Cisco published the first Annual Security Report (ASR). Nine years later, the drumbeat of cyberthreats grow louder, but the actors and threats are familiar, just as John reminded us when this year’s report was released.

Cyber-crime stats

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How to turn your customer crisis into a competitive differentiator

Cisco strives to deliver a great customer experience, every time. It’s a top priority at our company. But even with that focus, we still trip up from time to time. With the increasing complexity of today’s IT environments and as our customers’ business networks grow, invariably things go wrong. When that happens, the most important thing we can do is address the issue with an urgency, transparency, and immediacy that gets our customers back on track and restores their confidence in Cisco.

With over 20 years of experience handling our customers’ most challenging technical issues, we’ve developed expertise and best practices in how to quickly respond to and resolve an issue while identifying the root cause so we can drive lessons learned back into the business for continuous improvement. In parallel, we continuously evolve and innovate how we serve our customers, particularly how we handle our customers’ most critical issues.

We recently documented our processes and based on that, I’m excited to share with you a new white paper: “Developing a Customer Assurance Program from Start to Finish: Best Practices from Cisco’s Award-Winning Customer & Partner Assurance Organization”

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In this white paper, we share the five key best practices that form the foundation
of Cisco’s entire critical situation response process. Our intent is to share ideas and innovations that you can adopt in your business on a number of levels: to build out a full-blown critical situation response team, to better drive lessons learned in your business, or simply to improve the cross-functional leadership skills of your employees.

We also know that many of our customers and partners operate in similar environments. Cisco has a vision to build a common escalation management framework in the industry that can be employed when multiple companies are involved in the same critical escalation with a mutual customer or in a multi-vendor scenario. This would allow for standards that help all of us better manage customer expectations and deliver a more consistent experience. Together, we can ensure our customers’ success when it is most at risk.

Please give the paper a read, share it with your teams, and give me your feedback. I’m interested in the approaches you use at your business and the experiences you’ve had in resolving critical customer issues. Sharing ideas and learning from one another makes all of us better at serving our customers.

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Cisco to Expand Security Consultancy Services with Acquisition of Portcullis

There’s no question that cybersecurity is top-of-mind for Fortune 500 companies. This, compounded by a significant global security talent shortage, contributes to the burgeoning need for security companies to deliver both a comprehensive technology portfolio and a strong security consultancy service practice.

With this as the backdrop, Cisco is pleased to announce its intent to acquire Portcullis Computer Security, Ltd., a privately held UK-based consultancy that provides cybersecurity services to enterprise clients and the government sector. Portcullis’ range of security consulting services includes assessments to identify vulnerabilities, forensic testing, first responder training to prepare for attacks, policy review and creation, security awareness training, and overall security posture audits. Together, Cisco and Portcullis will provide strategic guidance to our clients to help them with their most difficult security challenges.

Through this acquisition, we increase our ability to offer robust security, risk and compliance services to help clients overcome operational and technical security challenges, anticipate and respond to new threats, and drive new business.

The acquisition of Portcullis also complements the talent and skills Cisco gained through the Neohapsis acquisition earlier this year. Portcullis has a long history of providing security consulting services in Europe, with an extensive customer network, and a respected reputation for penetration testing of web applications and infrastructure. When paired with Cisco’s existing security services portfolio, Portcullis will help accelerate Cisco’s security services business and more quickly expand its security consulting services outside of North America.

The Portcullis team will join the Cisco Security Solutions organization under the leadership of Vice President James Mobley. The acquisition is expected to be complete in the second quarter of fiscal year 2016.


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We Who Cut Mere Stones Must Always Be Envisioning Cathedrals

The well-known Quarry Worker’s Creed, called out in prefaces to books such as “The Pragmatic Programmer” and “Ship While you Sleep”, posits the notion of IT done right as more than simple engineering discipline – good software development, for example, should not “preclude individual craftsmanship”. Drawing parallels to the construction of large cathedrals built in Europe during the Middle Ages, the quarry worker’s creed points out that while generations of builders advanced the state of structural engineering from one decade to the next, the “…carpenters, stonecutters, carvers, and glass workers were all craftspeople, interpreting the engineering requirements to produce a whole that transcended the purely mechanical side of the construction”.  

We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals, says the Quarry Worker’s Creed, and as companies, cities and countries lean on their IT teams to enable the transformation to digital business, the talented men and women that work in technology are not just builders: they are increasingly artisans and craftsmen – experts in the tools of the trade and also nuanced in navigating the vicissitudes that present themselves in the quest to build and secure the technology that powers the next wave of innovation and growth.

Cybersecurity teams in particular have their hands full today. On one hand there are all the new advances that we often can’t get fast enough: crowd-funded financial services, online education, virtual booking for work spaces, driverless cars – to name just a few. All of these need security be conceptualized and built-in from the beginning (or not, to our peril). On the other hand, their adversaries, the often-elusive hackers are increasingly sophisticated actors, who design malware, tweak code and inject vulnerabilities with the same flair and passion of a renaissance architect.  Read More »

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