By Timothy D. Harmon, M.S., CCNA R&S, Security+CE, Cisco Champion

Cisco Tech Day is similar to Cisco Live but on a much smaller scale. Cisco Live is a conference held over four days usually at a convention center with several breakout sessions, keynotes and the famous World of Solutions (WoS). Cisco Tech Day is a one day conference held at a small venue, such as a hotel and it is presented by Cisco on the Road. This one day conference moves from one major city to another with different Cisco partners in each city. San Diego was one of these lucky cities to have Cisco Tech Day. It was held on October 27, 2016 at Paradise Point Resort.

The day started at 8am at the Paradise Point Resort in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, CA with a continental breakfast and networking opportunities with the partners and other attendees. There were about 15 to 20 Cisco Partners participating in the Tech Day and some include Presidio, NetApp and Eaton. The attendees were given a sheet of paper with all of the Cisco Partners listed on it and we had to go to each one to get the sheet signed off. After every partner had signed the paper, we returned the completed paper to the registration desk to be entered into the raffle that took place at the end of the day. This was an interesting way to get all of the attendees to visit each Cisco Partner.

The Keynote was Doug Good, VP Systems Engineering, and he started the keynote a little after 9am. He talked about how technology and business strategies are basically the same. He also discussed topics that include Cisco’s DNA (Digital Network Architecture), the Global Cybercrime Market, Ransomware and Cisco’s OpenDNS. It was a very informative keynote that went over several topics that Cisco has been deploying. I thought that the keynote was helpful in understanding what the industry is facing regarding challenges of the Internet of Things (IoT) and how to protect companies against the latest attack vector of ransomware.

After the keynote, there were four breakout session groups with lunch after the second breakout session. I decided to go with the security sessions as I am a part of the cyber security industry. The first session I attended was the “Secure the Data Center – Next Generation Firewall in High Performance Throughput” and it was pretty interesting as they were discussing ASA, FirePOWER and Firepower Threat Defense (FTD). This session was useful as it relates to the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security certification since FirePOWER and FTD are now a part of this certification. The second session was about Cisco Cloud Security with CloudLock and it was pretty interesting. The speakers in both sessions had extensive knowledge of the topics and were very professional in their presentations.

Lunch was provided and it was delicious. I decided to have the Smoked Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese and the Coconut dessert bar. During lunch, attendees can chat with the partners and get their raffle sheet signed by each partner. All of the Cisco partners were giving out free stuff, such as pens, stylus, mugs, bags and other shwag.

The last two sessions were pretty interesting as they discussed Cisco’s OpenDNS and Ransomware Defense Solution. OpenDNS was acquired by Cisco and has been growing ever since. OpenDNS can keep companies covered in ensuring that the users can get to a company’s website during a Denial of Service (DoS) attack on a Domain Name Service (DNS) server by using the OpenDNS servers. The week before the Cisco Tech Day, there was a DoS attack on some DNS servers and Cisco’s OpenDNS was able to keep customers from disruption by using a cached DNS query in order to get the users to the websites. The Ransomware Defense Solution discussed the way it defends against ransomware and how it protects companies that use the solution.

After the last session, the organizers held a raffle drawing for different prizes and I unfortunately did not win anything from the drawings. Overall, I thought the Cisco Tech Day was a very fun and informative “mini Cisco Live.” It gave me insight into the latest developments in Cisco Security and it was a great way to network with others. I recommend the Cisco Tech Day to everyone in the security, networking and collaboration industry.


Tim Harmon

Cyber Security & Network Professional

Cisco Champion