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Get Your Network Ready For iOS7

In their highly anticipated announcement this week, Apple introduced two new phones, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, and confirmed that iOS 7 would be released on September 18th. Techies like myself took note that iOS 7 will include quite a number of new features. We at Cisco want to help you understand what iOS 7 means for your network, so here’s a quick blog to sum it up:

How does iOS 7 impact your wireless networks?

Soon your employees and guests will be upgrading to IOS 7. Did you know up to 20% of traffic to mobile devices is software upgrades, application updates and synchronizing your devices via the cloud? Cisco’s Application Visibility and Control technology can help you identify and tame these applications and is available on the routers, Wireless LAN and visible via Prime Infrastructure. In addition, Cisco’s ISR can cache these updates to reserve valuable and expensive WAN bandwidth. More details about protecting the WAN is available in another blog.

If you leverage a Captive Portal, you will experience a change in behavior. Apple has enhanced the Captive Network Assistant (CNA) functionality iOS 7 making it more robust. Cisco has proactively developed and tested a new version of wireless LAN controller code to interoperate with Apple’s new implementation while ensuring a seamless experience for all other clients.

Finally iOS 7 also has significant security and manageability enhancements to improve productivity for the enterprise.

What do you need to do in order to optimize for iOS 7? Read More »

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Enhancing the MSE User Experience: Backup & Restore, Menu-based Device Setup

Following the last MSE blog on CleanAir, today I wish to explain how we prioritize the Mobility Service Engine’s user experience.

Listening to customers and implementing changes/features based on customer feedback has been a great strength of Cisco products. We from the Mobility Services Engine team strongly believe in this principle and make sure that we reach out to each and every customer who has provided a feedback on Cisco MSE and take their experience with MSE into consideration when designing future features and enhancements.

After analyzing the feedback we received during the MSE 7.4 release, I am pleased to announce that we have decided to implement the following two features as part of series of enhancements that we believe will improve the customer’s user experience with MSE.

Convenient Backup and Restore

Until the 7.4 release, MSE users had limited options in backing up their MSE data. The only supported option was to use the NCS FTP server as the destination for MSE data backups. Due to the limited disk capacity on NCS, as well as sharing of the disk space with other network elements, disk space limitations prevented MSE users from regularly backing up their data. If you are one of those users who always wished you could regularly backup MSE data without running into NCS disk space limitation, or if you wish you could back up your MSE data to non-NCS devices, we have some good news for you.

In the latest MSE 7.5 release, we have added the option to backup and restore your MSE data on remote FTP servers, provided there is connectivity between the MSE and the FTP server.  Similar to NCS Backups, MSE data can be backed up to configured repositories (internal or external FTP servers).  Love the command shell? We will also be coming up with CLI to backup MSE data. You can now start MSE backup using just a single command.

msecsat1 Read More »

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The Fifth Step to Enterprise Mobility: Defending Your Data

This is the fifth post in a blog series featuring Vine-format videos focusing on the “Six Essential Steps for Unleashing the Power of Enterprise Mobility”. The first blog post discussing how to build a mobile structure can be found here. The second blog post highlighting the benefits going virtual can be found here. The third blog post focused on preparing enterprises for the division of devices can be found here. The fourth blog post focused on creating an app checkpoint can be found here

In a 2012 survey of IT executives and CEOs, nearly half of the companies that permit mobility and BYOD reported experiencing a data or security breach as a result of an employee-owned device accessing the corporate network. In addition, security concerns continue to remain a key issue for decision makers looking to deploy additional mobile solutions such as enterprise mobile apps, according to a recent article from IT Pro.

Careful planning can help enterprises manage security concerns and harness the power of mobility. Here’s a brief checklist to help organizations secure devices, data and the network:

Watch the video:

Watch the video:

1. IT Pushing of Capability Down to End Devices

 IT needs to be able to push capabilities down to end devices and access control for both on-premises and off-premises apps, while providing pull capabilities for users, so they can self-provision apps.

IT must have the ability to apply situational control policies (for example, for disabling cameras on mobile devices in order to protect on-premises company assets when employees and guests are on corporate premises or in restricted areas). Another must have? The ability to remotely locate, lock, and wipe devices should there be a theft or if an employee leaves the company. It is also essential to be able to automate geo-specific policies to control roaming costs when workers are out of country. Read More »

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Interference Detection and Mitigation with Cisco CleanAir

The previous blog on CleanAir went in depth on how MSE uses CleanAir information to locate interferers and the impact zone for each interferer. This blog takes a step back and gives an overview of the CleanAir technology.

How Interference Affects Your WiFi

802.11 devices operate in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz unlicensed bands. These are unregulated and experimental bands. As such, there are way more non-802.11 devices, including but not limited to cordless phones, video cameras, microwave ovens, Bluetooth headsets, DECT phones and even X-Boxes. Now even more devices are coming out that emit in these bands. These devices interfere with your WiFi network since they don’t work cooperatively with 802.11 devices, causing reduced network capacity and coverage, poor quality of voice and video, and link failures.

When an 802.11 device is ready to transmit and it senses interference, it will hold off transmission until it is finished.  If it is in the middle of a transmission where it has sent a packet and never receives an acknowledgement, then it will try to send the packet again. Issues like these  impact the throughput and capacity of your Wireless Network. An interferer like a microwave oven, which emits interference on a 50% Duty Cycle, will reduce the throughput by 50 percent. In the case of an interferer like a video camera, which emits interference at 100% Duty Cycle, when seen at Access Point above CCA threshold will stop the Access Point from beaconing. Due to this clients will not attempt to associate. Read More »

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The Fourth Step to Enterprise Mobility: Create an App Checkpoint

This is the fourth post in a blog series featuring Vine-format videos focusing on the “Six Essential Steps for Unleashing the Power of Enterprise Mobility”. The first blog post discussing how to build a mobile structure can be found here. The second blog post highlighting the benefits going virtual can be found here. The third blog post focused on preparing enterprises for the division of devices can be found here.  

For today’s app-centric mobile workforce, it’s no longer enough to provide basic security features for devices. Gone are the days where security for mobility is “all or nothing” where virtual private networks (VPNs) gave you access to all corporate network resources, or you had very limited email and calendaring access.

Today, enterprises are managing public and private mobile applications that require a shift in security practices and a new application strategy. Here’s a short checklist to guide enterprises as they create app checkpoints to meet new security demands:

Step 4

To watch the video, see:

1. Look for a rapid, reliable, and secure vetting process for applications. 

IT security teams are usually directed toward securing the network and the devices connected to it, versus securing the applications that run on those devices. Many organizations lack the resources to evaluate an application’s ability to handle sensitive information throughout its lifecycle.

Companies rarely have the resources to monitor sites that could breed malware, nor do they have the ability to maintain heuristic algorithms to identify such sites prior to infection. And those that decide to secure mobile apps themselves might end up having to prioritize remediations, leaving them vulnerable. Read More »

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