October marks five quarters since I took on a role to lead Cisco’s Internet of Things (IoT) Systems and Software Group, a critical business for Cisco to help organizations connect the unconnected. And, wow, what an incredible time it has been. I’m so proud of the many team accomplishments—from the IoT System launch with 15 new products on the market, to the daily innovations and unbelievable culture we created—it truly has been an honor to lead this group and make a difference for Cisco and you—our customers—worldwide.
As I write this blog, I’m taking on a new opportunity as Chief Technology and Strategy Officer for Cisco Services. And again, I find myself working on something incredibly exciting —helping our customers transform in this digital age.
This digital age poses new challenges and opportunities for organizations. As Cisco moves to help the industry capitalize on the next wave of the Internet, I have the opportunity to bring my skills and experiences to this new challenge in Cisco Services. Read More »
Cool thing about TAC as a subject for us? It is TECH Reality. This really can’t be a marketing show as they deal with deployments. As much as I could now make an argument for why they should be a part of any pre-sale process – I get it. They truly live at that golden moment…when someone has a problem and they are either going to become a customer for life…or be lost forever.
‘Service after the sale’ is something we all enjoy complaining about. While often the last thing we consider when making a purchase…it’s the FIRST thing we call out when it fails us.
Sure TAC does a great job, they have also developed some great models for managing high volume, high complexity change…a worthy goal for any customer service environment. I honestly did not realize just how much they do until we really dug into our research for this.
Simple Network Monitoring Protocol (SNMP) has been widely deployed as an important network management tool for decades, is a key component of scalable network device management, and is configurable in nearly all network infrastructure devices sold today. As with any management protocol, if not configured securely, it can be leveraged as an opening for attackers to gain access to the network and begin reconnaissance of network infrastructure. In the worst case, if read-write community strings are weak or not properly protected, attackers could directly manipulate device configurations.
Cisco has recently seen a spike in brute-force attempts to access networking devices configured for SNMP using the standard ports (UDP ports 161 and 162). Attacks we’ve observed have been going after well known SNMP community strings and are focused on network edge devices. We have been working with our Technical Assistance Center (TAC) to assist customers in mitigating any problems caused by the brute-force attempts.
While there’s nothing new about brute-force attacks against network devices, in light of these recent findings, customers may want to revisit their SNMP configurations and ensure they follow security best practices, including using strong passwords and community strings and using ACLs to restrict access to trusted network management endpoints.
Cisco has published a number of best practices documents for securing the management plane, including SNMP configuration:
“This conference is designed not only to make you think about the application of automation, but also to help you take action” – David Greenfield, Automation World, editor in chief and TAC event director
The conference achieved this goal and more. The framework of the sessions encouraged audience collaboration and dialogue around the challenges and practical steps and strategies being designed and deployed to achieve an integrated and scalable IoE architecture that drives value across the entire manufacturing value chain, as depicted in the video below:
What better way to meet that objective than to leverage a manufacturing use case around beer!!!!
Automating Brewing Operations from Two Different Perspectives
I attended this session where Highland Brewing, Sierra Nevada and Vicinity Manufacturing gave an interesting perspective around the challenges and strategies in deploying their next generation manufacturing operation.
Highland Brewing is a regional brewer of craft beers based in the Southeast and Sierra Nevada is a larger brewer with more of national brand. The interesting contrast between the two is that Highland Brewing is designing more automation into their operational facility and Sierra Nevada is scaling their automation and IoE strategies across all their facilities. Both perspectives and approaches have the same objective. How do I effectively integrate all the various technologies into an intelligent, flexible and scalable system/architecture to meet the following business outcomes:
Increase Customer Loyalty
Supply Chain Optimization
To paraphase Kevin Wheeler, Director of Operations, Highland Brewing Co,“Our core competency is crafting great beer. We have an opportunity to drive efficiency into our operation by an integrating IoT/IoE platform … the challenge is figuring out the best approach.”
Like Highland Brewing, manufacturers must begin to transform existing business processes and fundamentally rethink how they create, operate, and service smart, connected products in the IoE. For those that get it right, the future represents a huge opportunity to create product and service advantages.
Are you having challenges putting together the “IoE technology puzzle?” Is security the main barrier to IoE adoption?
In this month’s installment of the “We’re Listening” blog series, Steve Young discusses customer feedback to the Technical Assistance Center (TAC), and what his team is doing to address your main concerns with TAC support. Steve is Director of the TAC’s Service Delivery Transformation efforts.
By Guest Contributor Steve Young
You’ve shared a lot about your experience with the Technical Assistance Center (TAC) – the many positive experiences as well as areas for improvement. We continuously review these multiple sources of customer listening data to ensure we are addressing your biggest concerns with your support experience.
One of your main concerns is not getting to the right expert right away. When you have an issue, you don’t want to be bounced around the TAC. Read More »