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Mobility Empowers the Virtualization Experience

Visions of the future vary drastically in popular culture, the scenes shift and circumstances can be an almost infinite number of possibilities, but what is one constant? At some point, the main character will inevitably interact with a thin-client device during a pivotal moment. It usually takes the form of a handheld screen with access to a limitless amount of media and data from seemingly anywhere.

Storage and compute power is good, and getting better—but I find it hard to believe the entire library of congress, and the tools to manipulate that data could fit on a tablet the size of my placemat. What does that leave? Virtualization and high-speed wireless access. You don’t need to store or process anything on the client, or even go beyond rendering images on the screen. Everything can be stored, provisioned and sent direct to you. The future is beginning to look a little more plausible.

This week, Cisco announced the Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), enabling rich media communication to virtual desktops. Applications and services can be quickly deployed across your entire workforce, and the many devices increasingly entering our lives. Fundamental to VXI is the secure, reliable delivery of media across the network. Much of it is latency sensitive, such as live video or audio—but regardless of the content, it needs to be delivered on-demand flawlessly.

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MHETAB: Students more dense…

…In terms of the density of number of devices that will proliferate University networks in the near future. During the Mobility Higher Education Technical Advisory Board (MHETAB) several representatives from colleges and universities across the United States echoed this sentiment.

There is a common concern amongst higher education IT professionals who are trying to determine the best course of action as students, faculty and administrators introduce new smart phones, iPads/iPods and laptops to the university wireless network.  Several of the representatives also stated that even though they are still trying to tackle the older requirement to have campus wide coverage these density challenges are looming.

Why do these challenges exist? As wireless networks evolve to a necessity from a “nice to have” it is critical for higher education organizations to find new ways to manage access while at the same time support a greater scale of devices with the same resources and budgets as they had when the user to device ratio was one to one. To face the onslaught of device proliferation these organizations are looking towards solutions to provide new and unique approaches to providing students, faculty and administrators the ability to have wireless access all the time, throughout the campus from multiple devices.

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PCI Base 2.0 – Don’t Leave Rogue Detection Up in The Air!

I have been preparing for the PCI DSS 2.0 draft released on October 28th, 2010 which is to be ratified in January of 2011. PCI DSS 2.0 clarifies requirements in many areas.

The draft 2.0 released yesterday has shown that there is little change in wireless recommendations around detecting the presence of rogue wireless access points. Actually the draft adds a little more room for interpretation.

In PCI DSS Draft v2.0, requirement 11.1 states that to be compliant organizations are required to “Test for the presence of wireless access points and detect unauthorized wireless access points on a quarterly Basis.” With a note that states, “Methods that may be used in the process include but are not limited to wireless network scans, physical/logical inspections of system components and infrastructure, network access control (NAC), or wireless IDS/IPS. Whichever methods are used, they must be sufficient to detect and identify any unauthorized devices.

As we examine this statement it seems to lend itself to more than one option. Perform a quarterly scan with a handheld scanner, rely on physically inspecting connections or implement an always-on wireless IDS/IPS solution.  I vote for the latter.  Why?

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The Cisco Connected World Report: Mobility’s Role in Workplace Flexibility

As part of Cisco’s ongoing focus to help customers, we often conduct studies around the world that give us real-life insight into how businesses are evolving and how end users themselves are driving many of those changes with their behavior and technology expectations.

After all, understanding what employees expect from their IT organizations to perform their jobs better is integral to delivering the right solutions to our customers.

This week, Cisco announced the results of a comprehensive, global study that analyzes employee lifestyles and the level of importance workers place on being able to use various devices to access applications and information – both corporate and personal – inside and outside of the office.

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Educause 2010 Proves Learning is (Going) Mobile

“The Future of Learning is Mobile”. That is how I closed each of my 8 presentations at the Cisco booth at Educause 2010 this week.  What I should have said instead though is “Learning is Mobile”.

Mobility in Education is not a future trend; it is happening right now all around us.  And I should have known better since Higher Education has been a very early adopter of wireless networking and our customers are constantly interested in the latest technology.

I had less than an hour to walk the expo floor, but during that time I had multiple discussions that proved just how mobile education already is. Here is a quick summary of those discussions:

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