Cybersecurity trends underway in 2017

The past year has seen seismic changes in the cybersecurity landscape.

They’re forcing IT professionals to rethink and re-strategize their organization’s security. They’re being tasked with ways to better control access to their network, gain a deeper understanding of how vulnerable their network is to threats, and develop a faster, decisive response plan when a threat occurs.

If any of the above resonates with you, you’re not alone. The cybersecurity market is expected to swell to $100 billion dollars by 2019. And now that we’re a quarter of the way through 2017, there’s good reason to be forward-looking and take proactive steps to ensure that security is in your company’s DNA.

Gone are the days when traditional security management approaches of multiple point products, manual change processes, extensive policies and data silos, did the trick. Given the growing complexities of networks and rapid delivery of services and applications, a deep, up-to-date rebooting of how you approach your network security is not only crucial – it’s necessary. Continue reading

Meet the challenges of digital business

Cisco Digital Network Architecture

Legacy business processes are becoming increasingly digital, requiring fast and flexible network services to facilitate and support them. On top of that, business leaders and the IT professionals who run them are under pressure to accelerate adoption of big data, mobile, cloud, video, and IoT technologies.

Cisco Digital Network Architecture (DNA) gives you a clear and efficient way forward. DNA centers around a network infrastructure that is not only fully programmable and open to third-party innovation, but can also fully and seamlessly integrate the cloud as an infrastructure component. Continue reading

On-prem vs. hybrid vs. Cloud – Which UC deployment model is best for your business?

8-12-16_UC-Blog-graphic_800pxA recent industry report states that more than 54% of surveyed large enterprises (defined as 5,000+ employees) still operate an outdated TDM PBX voice infrastructure; if not at all locations, at least at some. One might be surprised that that there is a such a relatively high percentage of legacy-based, on-prem voice solutions still in the market, given the success of Microsoft Office 365 and general buzz surrounding hosted UC solutions.

But if you are considering upgrading your existing voice or UC capabilities, should these percentages or trends play a role in your decision making? And is there a single UC deployment model that definitively makes sense for every business?

The short answers are ‘no’ and ‘no’. The best deployment model depends on the unique requirements and circumstances of your business. Continue reading

The state and future of hyper-converged infrastructure

Data Center BlogHyper-converged appliances simplify the design, deployment and management of complex infrastructures, easing pressure on IT staff and leadership. With components designed and built from the ground up to function as a pre-validated system, hyper-converged appliances eliminate the risk of incompatibility you run when rolling out a converged infrastructure.

Hyper-convergence delivers three key benefits:

Faster Deployment – You’re acquiring a single appliance from a single vendor. That means no finger-pointing among component manufacturers when you need support.

Simplified Management – A hyper-converged system provides true single-pane-of-glass management for the entire system.

Rapid Scalability – When you need to scale, you simply deploy additional building blocks.

An excellent example of state-of-the-art hyper-converged appliances is Cisco’s HyperFlex System. These appliances evolved to bring new levels of efficiency and adaptability to the data center, allowing IT to deploy in less than an hour, create clones in seconds, and save on data storage day after day, year after year.

What’s next?

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UC systems are connecting the increasingly disconnected workforce

8-12-16_UC-Blog-graphic_800pxFor more than a decade, unified communications (UC) technologies from industry leaders like Cisco and Avaya have been helping businesses collaborate remotely while reducing telecom and infrastructure costs by merging voice and data into a single network.

Today’s on-premises and cloud-based UC platforms take savings and efficiency to a higher level, going beyond voice, email, web chat and instant messaging to include multimedia collaboration capabilities as well. Best of all, the cost of endpoint technology is coming down, enabling small and medium size businesses to deploy sophisticated UC systems more affordably than ever. Continue reading

Explore the benefits of Software Defined Networking

7-18-16-DataCtr-Blog-graphic-742x388Like server and storage virtualization, network virtualization abstracts existing resources and allows them be viewed and managed from a single pane of glass, using open protocols such as OpenFlow.

This allows for on-demand provisioning of resources without the need to physically configure cabling and switches with every network change. Software Defined Networking (SDN) takes things a step further, entirely separating the control plane from the data plane, and enabling administrators to spin up virtual components, virtually at will.

Zones teams with industry leaders like Cisco and Avaya, to bring the speed, flexibility and scalability of software defined networking to all kinds of organizations.

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Be the disruptor, not the disrupted.

It’s well-documented that companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Facebook have reaped huge rewards by tapping into massive markets made possible by emerging new business models. They were adept at quickly modernizing their networks to connect with their customers where their customer wanted to be, and with it came big benefits: engaged customers, innovative experiences, and new revenue streams.

To get ahead – and stay ahead – companies must realize it’s a whole new game now, and you don’t want to be left behind while all this digital disruption is taking place. Digitization requires IT functions to be thoroughly transformed, including sophisticated scaling to meet new demand fluctuation; increasing reliability; speeding time to market; and quickly getting digital innovations to consumers. Continue reading

Contact centers build solid connections

hp_windows_upgrade_3489896bWhen customers or prospects want to connect with your business, they want an immediate response and rapid results. It’s not always easy to keep up with those demands. Small companies can become especially frustrated because they do not employ enough workers to perform their routine duties effectively while interacting with customers at the same time.

Fortunately, there are solutions available to help people and businesses meet the challenge. Continue reading

Fight ransomware. Or pay the price.

Healthcare organizations increasingly dealing with advanced threats

Print2016 has seen a spike in reported ransomware attacks in the healthcare industry. Because these attacks prevent access to patient record systems, their impact extends beyond simply doing business; they represent a threat to the delivery of care.

In February, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center announced that it had paid a $17,000 ransom to restore files encrypted by a ransomware attack. The good news is that HPMC was able to restore the data and return to normal operations relatively quickly. The bad news is that it could happen again without a comprehensive plan in place.

Just a month later, Methodist Hospital in Kentucky was crippled by a Locky crypto-ransomware attack that sent the hospital into an “Internal State of Emergency.” The Locky malware entered the network through a spam email attachment and spread across the network, infecting multiple systems. While the 4-bitcoin ransom (about $1,600) was modest, the damage done by five days of interrupted hospital operations was not. In the end, Methodist Hospital did not pay the ransom, and was able to recover by activating its backup system.

To fight – or more importantly prevent – such attacks, Cisco offers a range of security solutions including its subscription-based Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) suite that protects your endpoints, your network, and your email and web traffic. Managed through a web-based management console, AMP can be deployed on a variety of platforms to safeguard your data and your systems proactively. Continue reading

Transforming the network from security liability to security asset

security engineer photoTurn your network into security sensor

For years, IT leaders have been doing everything possible to guard the network from security threats. And with good reason. Once infiltrated, the network can be used to propagate threats across everything connected to it.

The industry’s response – in the form of endpoint protection, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and intrusion prevention systems – banked on the idea that preventing infiltration would keep the network secure.

While protective and preventive measures remain important first lines of defense, the increasing number and variety of zero-day and social engineering threats mean that even the best protection at the edge risks being rendered temporarily ineffective by a skilled intruder, putting the network at risk. Continue reading