Chatting With A Senior Cisco Official

We interviewed Roy McLean, who has been with Cisco Systems for 19 years.  Roy is currently a Senior Manager of Global Distribution Sales with Cisco.  Below are questions about Cisco’s direction that Roy answered.

What was the culture like in Cisco after the Cisco Live 2019 event?  Any shift in momentum?

CiscoLive! Always generates excitement and energy across Cisco and our partner and eco-system community.   Hearing about the latest innovations, seeing how our customers used the technology to drive success is a huge boost.   Already Cisco was buzzing with excitement around DEVNET, and CiscoLive! turned that up to 11 with new programs and certifications.

How do you feel Cisco’s product arsenal has kept up to speed with the fast-growing cloud market?

Cisco’s product set has never been stronger, or more aligned with the cloud market.  Our cloud based offers like DNA Spaces or Intersight are just the icing on an already cloud rich portfolio.  We can’t forget great offers like Webex, which continues to blow away the competition with its strong feature set and constantly expanding feature set.  If you didn’t see the new Webex experience, you’ll be blown away how business insights can now be part of the pre-meeting, delivered from the cloud.

With an abundance of cloud products in the market, how does Cisco Systems remain distinct when it comes to cloud solutions?

It’s true there are many many cloud products out in the market today.  Our customers have told us loud and clear that having to manage services from multiple suppliers is a big drain productivity and expense.  Ciscos highly integrated portfolio allows customers to design, deploy and realize business outcomes is unmatched. 

Evolving technology means an evolving understanding of client needs.  How does the Cisco team adjust its product development to evolving client demands?

A big part of what Cisco and partners like Compulink do is listening.  Our partners work with customers to help them reach their business goals first.  Over the last few years we’ve been helping partners develop the skills to identify end user expectations around business outcomes.  Our CX strategy is designed to do just that, provide a clear structure to help Compulink win deals, and just as importantly, continue to work with the end customer to adopt the features that drive outcomes and renewals.  Staying close to the customer expectations, delivering value at every step of the sale and ultimately helping our end users reach their goals is what CX is all about.

Based on our experience as a partner, Cisco products are popular among the government.  Many government agencies are currently using Cisco products until the end of life before they refresh their IT Hardware.  What advice do you have for end-users on maximizing their use of these products?

We’re very proud of the high quality world class products we produce, for decades we’re been recognized as one of the best manufacturers in the IT industry.   While our products do seem to last forever, we know that customer requirements, security concerns and the opportunity to innovate will ultimately drive customers to refresh.   At the same time, our R&D teams continue to develop new technologies like our advanced ASICs. These programmable custom designed processors allow Cisco to innovate HW via software. Our latest launches of the Catalyst 9000 Series product are a great example of a programmable device is truly an innovation platform.  Programmability ensures we’ll be able to squeeze every last cycle out of our gear, for years to come.  

Are there new products coming out soon that you are excited about?  What are some of the strengths of these products?

At Cisco we’re always cooking up new products and solutions.  Our culture of innovation and no technology religion allows our development teams to think outside the box and come up with industry changing technologies.   While I can’t tell you about the next big product announcements in advance of their release, I can say for sure that there will be more development around software and cloud, more innovation with ASICs and programmability.  Things are already heating up with WIFI-6 and 5G making things possible that was science fiction just a few years ago.  Security is equally exciting with DUO coming to the Cisco price list this year.

Cybersecurity Trends You Need To Know

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). This is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness on the importance of cybersecurity and the growing concerns of security threats to both private and public organizations.

In honor of NCSAM, here are some concerning data of cybersecurity:

  • By 2021, cybercriminals are projected to cost the global economy more than $6 trillion annually, up from $3 trillion in 2015. This trend is more prevalent in the business sector. (Fox Business)
  • 20% of IT security leaders said their organizations got hit six or more times annually, and 80% stated they had experienced at least one cybersecurity incident over the past 12 months so severe that it required a board-level meeting. (Source: IronNet)
  • Nearly two-thirds of security professionals in a separate survey believe that their organization will have to respond to at least one major cybersecurity breach over the next 12 months. (Black Hat USA)
  • 77% of IT Security leaders anticipate a major breach involving a critical infrastructure organization in the near future. Only 21% of the study participants believe the government is prepared to respond to such a breach. (Black Hat USA)

These are alarming facts regarding attitudes from IT Security leaders. A breach in cybersecurity can have a wide-range of effects to organizations from minor setback to debilitating costly effects that can cause layoffs. Either way, it is crucial to adopt not only a cybersecurity solution, but enforce best practice as well within your organization.

Case Study: Make-A-Wish With Meraki

Different organizations and companies have different types of missions and goals.  In this particular case study, we are going to focus on Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Make-A-Wish Foundation is a nonprofit with a powerful mission to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.  So with such a notable mission, having a stable, reliable IT network is crucial for this organization.

Jeff Pick, the Director of Technology for Make-A-Wish America, works at the National Office in Phoenix to support 62 local Make-A-Wish chapters around the country.  When he first started working at Make-A-Wish, each chapter had its own distinct networking gear, causing network management to be scattered.  In addition to this wide-spanning decentralized network, the organization was calling for an increase in cybersecurity.

Make-A-Wish Foundation chose to go with a Meraki setup at every location.  They initially did a trial and found it easy to configure.  At every Make-A-Wish Chapter, a Meraki MX Security Appliance, MS Switch and a number of MR Access Points can be found.  Each individual MX securely connects to other branch MXs in the Make-A-Wish network, and then back to a central MX400 at headquarters via Meraki Auto VPN.  Meraki’s site-to-site VPN connects chapters securely and automatically without manual configuration.  Because of this upgrade in network solutions, Make-A-Wish is able to securely share internal resources within the organization.

The Benefits Summarized

The initial issue was that each different Make-A-Wish location had its own distinct networking gear. It was difficult for the IT team of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to manage the network effectively.  After switching the entire network to Meraki, Make-A-Wish Foundation had a network topology that was centrally managed.  Jeff Pick and his IT team were able to view a detailed network map at any time.  Meraki Access Points have fixed 99% of the wireless errors they were having before.

Cisco Meraki is convenient cloud-based IT Management Solution.  In the case of businesses, it enables IT Managers to monitor their network from any location and scale their network.  Meraki is not only a networking solution, but it also comes with cybersecurity features as well.  Through Cisco Meraki, organizations like Make-A-Wish and other organizations can centralize cybersecurity, network management, while maintaining a lean IT staff.

Remote Work Is The New Norm (The Facts)

Remote work is on the rise! The convenience of working from home was a foreign idea in the 20th century before digital technology was as rampant as it is today. However, as cloud technology and managed services soar, more organizations have the ability to enable their employees to work remotely.

There are statistics to demonstrate this as well. in a 2018 Jabra Knowledge worker survey, it was reported that mobile professionals spend 20% of their productive time at a desk. The Jabra C-Level study from 2018 indicated that 32% of C-Levels believe that the best way to cut office cost over the next 3-5 years is by hiring remote workers. There is a predicted 7% Growth of global smartphone value in Unified Communication from 2018 to 2022.

The rise of remote work leads to a rising necessity of cloud and appropriate technology solutions for organizations worldwide. It is highly crucial for IT professionals and C-level executives to collaborate and determine what company functions are that can be automated and made easier via technology.

Three Access Points You Should Consider

Wireless coverage of IT networks has become an essential technological facet to have. However, such coverage can come with limitations. Access points are important devices when it comes to extending wireless coverage of an existing network and for increasing the number of users that can connect to it. With solely routers, organizations have limitations on the amount of users. However, access points can enable organizations to provide hundreds of users access at the same time. Every organization can benefit from access points. These benefits include:

  • stronger ability to send and receive signals
  • hundreds of users can gain access
  • an access point can cover up to 100-300 meters and the increase of wireless access points will extend signal coverage proportionally, which enables users to roam freely in the network
  • an Access Point has a variety of modes for you to choose, which is meant to be very flexible, such as Simplex AP, Wireless Client, Wireless Badge, Multi-point Bridge, and more.

With these notable strengths of Access points, the next question arises: which Access Points products should an organization consider?

Cisco Catalyst 9100 Access Points

The Cisco Catalyst 9100 access points can handle the challenges of the next generation’s network. Going beyond the Wi-Fi standard, Catalyst 9100 access points are resilient and intelligent and provide integrated security for an organization and their IoT devices. These are the strengths of the Catalyst Series Access Points:

  • Support both orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access and Multiuser Multiple Input, Multiple Output, delivering more predictable performance for advanced applications and IoT
  • with up to 2.5 Gbps with NBASE-T and IEEE 802.3bz Ethernet compatibility, the Cisco Catalyst 9100 Series can seamlessly offload network traffic without any bottlenecks.
  • You can use your existing Category 5e or 6 cabling to achieve speeds up to 5 Gbps, allowing for higher throughputs with minimum cost.
  • Three radios: 2.4 GHz (4×4), 5 GHz (4×4), and BLE

Click here to learn more about Cisco Catalyst 9100 Series

Aruba AP-335 Wireless Access Point

Aruba 330 Series Access Points provide the fastest gigabit data speeds and superb user experience for mobile devices and applications in a digital workplace. They provide simultaneous data transmission to multiple devices, maximizing data throughput and improving network efficiency. Designed with an integrated HPE Smart Rate port to scale up to 5Gbps Ethernet, the 330 Series allows enterprises to leverage their multi-gigabit Ethernet wired network infrastructures to eliminate bottlenecks.

  • Support for new Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), WPA3 and Enhanced Open – and all existing standards
  • Advanced AI-powered closed-loop wireless/RF optimization
  • Enhanced AP utilization and client roaming Automated deployment with ZTP and hierarchical configuration
  • Dynamic Segmentation enforces wired and wireless access policies to simplify and secure the network
  • Application awareness for 3,000+ applications without additional hardware
  • Live Upgrade and Seamless Failover

Click here to learn more about Aruba AP-335 Wireless Access Point

Cisco AiroNet 2702i Wireless Access Point

The Cisco Aironet 2700 Series of Wi-Fi Access points delivers industry-leading 802.11ac performance (faster Wi-Fi) at a price point ideal for plugging capacity and coverage gaps in dense indoor environments. The Aironet 2700 Series extends 802.11ac speed and features to a new generation of smartphones, tablets, and high-performance laptops now shipping with the faster, 802.11ac Wi-Fi radios.

The Aironet 2700 series supports 802.11ac “Wave 1” in its first implementation, providing a theoretical connection rate of up to 1.3 Gbps. That’s roughly triple the rates offered by today’s high-end 802.11n APs. The boost helps you stay ahead of the performance and bandwidth expectations of today’s mobile worker, who usually uses multiple W-Fi devices instead of just one. As such, users are adding proportionally larger traffic loads to the wireless LAN, which has outpaced Ethernet as the default enterprise access network.

Click here to learn more about Cisco Aironet 2702i Wireless Access Point

Four Storage Servers For More Productivity

Storage Servers are servers that are used to store, access, secure, and manage digital data, files, and services. It is a server used for storing and accessing small to large amount of data over a shared network or through the internet. These are crucial items for organizations when it comes to collaborative efforts. Listed below are four storage server products we recommend to keep your collaborative capacities strong and effective:

HPE MSA 2052 SAN Dual Controller SFF Storage

The hybrid flash HPE MSA 2052 Storage system is designed for affordable application acceleration ideal for small and remote office deployments. The HPE MSA 2052 Storage gives you the combination of simplicity, flexibility, and advanced features you may not expect in an entry-priced array. Start with 1.6 TB of flash capacity included and scale as needed with any combination of solid state disks, high-performance enterprise, or lower-cost midline SAS-based drives. HPE MSA Storage has been the industry-leading entry storage SAN platform for the past eight years, with nearly 500,000 systems sold worldwide. Delivering performance in excess of 200,000 IOPS, the MSA 2052 Storage system can save you up to 40% with an all inclusive software suite and 1.6 TB of flash capacity included. It’s seriously simple and affordable flash storage to help you get the most performance for the lowest cost.

Click To View in the Compulink E-Store

HPE StoreEasy 1660 Performance Storage

If you need an easy-to-manage centralized space for securely storing documents, images, audio and video files, look no further than HPE StoreEasy 1000 Storage. With StoreEasy, you can have flexible, efficient, and reliable file storage, right-sized for your organization’s needs and budget, without compromising on quality or capabilities. Available in a diverse range of form factors, capacity, and performance options, StoreEasy 1000 can help you get more out of your file storage with less effort through maximizing usable capacity, simplifying management, and helping you protect your indispensable digital assets in an evolving threat landscape. The new 6th generation HPE StoreEasy 1660 and 1860 build on that foundation through a new simplified management experience developed by HPE, enhanced built-in security protections, more options to expand capacity, and increased performance.

Click To View In the Compulink E-Store

Cisco SmartPlay Select S3260 Basic

The Cisco USC S3260 helps you achieve the highest levels of performance and capacity. With dual-node capability that is based on the Intel Xeon processor E5-2650 v4 series, it features up to 84 TB of local storage in a compact 4-rack-unit form factor. The drives can be configured with enterprise-class Redundant Array of independent Disks (RAID) redundancy of as JBOD in pass-through mode. Network connectivity provided with dual port 40G per server nodes with expanded unified I/O capabilities for connectivity between NAS and SAN environments. This high-capacity storage server comfortably fitsd in a standard 32-inch depth rack, such as the Cisco R42610 Rack.

Click to View in the Compulink E-Store

HPE MSA 1050 12GB SAS Dual Controller SFF Storage

Need a modern shared storage array which is flash-ready when you are and affordable with what’s left of a small budget? The HPE MSA 1050 SAN Storage brings affordable flash storage down to the most price sensitive customers. Designed to meet entry-level storage requirements, the MSA 1050 is a good fit for budget constrained customers. With the lowest entry price point in the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Storage portfolio and field-proven HPE ProLiant compatibility, the HPE MSA 1050 SAN Storage is the platform of choice for smaller IT workloads. The HPE MSA 1050 SAN Storage features ISCSI, FC, and SAS host interface connectivity at previously unattainable entry price points. MSA allows users to take advantage of the latest storage technologies while also providing a balance between performance and budget. HPE MSA Storage portfolio has been the industry-leading entry storage FC Platform for the past eight years, with nearly 500,000 storage systems sold worldwide.

Click to view in the Compulink E-Store

Compulink Technologies is an MBE Certified Firm that has been bringing top-notch IT Service solutions to businesses and government agencies across the nation since 1986.

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