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AnyConnect is Now Available on the iPad

The iPad is one of the hottest gifts for this holiday season. Kids and adults alike are hoping to receive one as a gift from others or as a gift for themselves. It will be a busy time for the App Store for sure and many of the adults will probably be trying to use their iPad to access corporate email or other information.

Cisco’s gift for those users is Cisco AnyConnect for the iPad, making that corporate user more secure. The market-leading secure mobility client, positioned as a leader by Gartner in the recent 2010 Magic Quadrant for SSL VPNs , is now available on the Apple App Store free of charge. Companies with AnyConnect Essentials or Premium VPN licenses on their Cisco ASA 55000 can now allow their employees to connect using the iPad. Companies can now realize the value of Cisco Secure Mobility and Borderless networks. They can connect anyone, anywhere—securely, reliably, and seamlessly. Read More »

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Cisco Positioned as a Leader in the 2010 Magic Quadrant for SSL VPNs

Mobility is changing the way I work. I work in the office, at home and wherever I am between the two. Not only do I have a smartphone, I also have an iPad and a corporate laptop. I access email and work using all three devices, happy that I can seamlessly connect from anywhere, at anytime, from any device. I am not unlike many workers today where work is becoming an activity and not a place and I need consistent security enforcement and protection, particularly when I am outside of the office.

Three letters enable much of this, V – P – N. VPNs are not new but Cisco continues to innovate with new VPN and secure mobility solutions to secure mobile workers like me. For instance, in October Cisco announced AnyConnect 3.0 that ties the client to web security in the cloud via Cisco ScanSafe in addition to an on-premise Web Security Appliances and the AnyConnect client is now available for both the Apple iPhone and iPad running iOS version 4.2+. Read More »

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Ask The Expert: AnyConnect Configuration – December 14th

Join us on Tuesday, December 14th, for our upcoming live Ask The Expert event, inside Cisco Live and Networkers Virtual.  This event will be coming to you live from India, the first in our international Ask The Expert Series.  Ask the Expert events are part of our content partnership with the Cisco Support Community. Take advantage of these opportunities to get answers to your questions live, in real-time, by a Cisco expert.

Join Cisco expert Vikas Saxena, a customer support engineer (CCIE security number 19971) at the Technical Assistance Center, Security and VPN team in India as he provides information on configuration basics of AnyConnect SSL VPN Client on ASA through ASDM. He will also provide information on concepts of profiles, tunnel groups, group policies, and troubleshooting of common problems associated with AnyConnect SSL VPN client.

Speaker: Vikas Saxena
Date: Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Time: 2:00 a.m. Eastern / 11:00 PT [13th] / 12:30 p.m. JST / 4:00 p.m. JST
Location: www.ciscolivevirtual.com

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If you Want to Cut Costs, You Want Remote Access

And if you want remote access — You NEED a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

If you are thinking of cutting costs, offering remote access may not be the first thing that comes to mind.  It may even seem counter-intuitive to add a service to cut costs.  However adding remote access to your network not only increases productivity by allowing employees to work when they are not in the office, it also allows you to cut costs by reducing real estate requirements and even allowing you to use more contract workers which can mean a reduction in benefit costs.

It’s no secret that people like to work at home.  I work at home.  I love working at home.  I have zero commute, I put less that 5,000 miles on my car last year; I don’t have dry cleaning expenses and, sometimes, yes it’s true; I work in my PJs.  Some jobs necessitate that employees are in the office and but there’s more room for creativity than you may think.  I once stayed in a hotel where the long-time concierge had to move for family reasons.  Rather than let her go, the hotel set up a video conference solution for her.  She could do everything from home even printing reservations and directions for guests who loved the novelty of the situation and also were impressed by her vast knowledge of the city.  Had the hotel not made this arrangement, they would have lost her expertise.

What is a secret about remote access (shh, let’s keep this between us) is that remote workers cost less! My director’s budget is charged for every cube in her department.  Not mine though.  I don’t run up cell phone costs traveling between buildings.  My **** never leaves my seat, so my co-workers can always reach me.  Even if your company budget isn’t as prickly as issuing department charge-backs for office space, you still need to pay for facility space.  My company doesn’t pay for my copy paper, paperclips, printer, office furniture and so on.  I don’t call in sick to work, I don’t miss work due to inclement weather and I’m never late because of traffic. (though things can get pretty intense around the espresso machine if my husband and I are there at the same time).  Right now over 34 million people work remotely for at least part of their jobs according to Forrester Research, by 2016 over 43% of U.S. workers will be telecommuters.

OK, so telecommuters aren’t drinking your coffee, using the washroom, or stealing paperclips, how does all that add up in savings? According to the Telework Research Network a teleworker saves the average company $10,000 per year (they have a customizable savings calculator on their site).  And the employee saves anywhere between $1,800 and $6,000 per year in commuting expenses.  One of our customers, Chorus, eliminated all office space by going completely remote.  This saved them $400,000 per year in office space.  They also saw an improvement in customer service, employees working from home were more efficient.  As Rick Boyd, vice president of infrastructure for Chorus said “When you take the commute out of the day, people work longer but are happier.”

What is a VPN?

As part of a small business security solution, A VPN sets up a private Internet (IP) connection that uses encryption  and authentication to protect the communications traversing it. Acting  like private and exclusive tunnels from one place to another, VPNs  extend your business to wherever it needs to go: home or satellite  offices, shared workspaces, coffeehouses, or anywhere else your workers  use their laptops, PCs, or IP phones. These private tunnels protect your data to ensure that it’s secure.

How much  does a VPN solution cost?

I posed this question to Ryan Halper, CEO of Cynnex Solutions, a Cisco Select Partner in Seattle, WA that specializes in small business solutions.  He told me that there are several factors to consider such as  the number of VPN users [Remote Workers], the  degree of redundancy (the backup technology), the type of connectivity  (data, video, and/or voice services; software or always-on hardware  solutions), and the network security hardware already in place. He says  that many companies start with basic systems and then later upgrade to  solutions that include redundancy and voice service.

I asked Ryan to be more specific and he told me that it’s not as expensive as you might think.

  • For a company that has a few dozen users and has a VPN device such as a Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance in place licensing would roughly run $80 to $120 per user
  • If you need to purchase a device a Cisco ASA 5505 would be about $1000 for 10 users

If you can save $10,000 a year per teleworker that’s a really great investment!  Now, how many of your employees and contractors could perform their  work remotely? How much will this save your business in overhead  expenses? A Cisco partner can help you select the VPN solution that’s right for you.

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A Secure Network is a Productive Network

Because it’s Cyber Security Month, security has been top of mind for me, I’ve realized that network security plays a silent role in almost everything we do.

Last week our power went out.  This is pretty rare where I live, because I’m on the same power grid as Disney World; which means that there are two major power sources sending electricity our way (imagine the cost of a power outage to Disney World!).  I really never thought it would happen.  Even the year that Central Florida was hit by three hurricanes the power never faltered here.  But, a little transformer blew in town and knocked the lights out.  No power, no network.  So, I picked up my laptop and scooted out to the local Starbucks without giving it a second thought.

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