Achieve Benefits For Your Organization Leveraging Cisco ACI

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Investments in the right tools and architecture can bring incredible value to your business. There is a multitude of tech solutions out there and unfortunately, they only get partially implemented. That means businesses are often investing lots of time and resources without ever yielding the intended benefits.

From its inception, one of Cisco ACI’s primary value propositions was segmentation. Yet, few organizations are driving real value from ACI when it comes to utilizing the more advanced security features the platform offers.

There are simple ways to implement high-value segmentation in ACI around a few key uses cases. The Evolving Solutions modern networking team has worked with many clients focused on software defined architectures in an easy to consume model since the inception of ACI.

Spend some time with Tony Peters and Julian McRoy as they presented on a recent Cisco ACI Users’ Group webinar. During this session, they will walk you through the fundamentals of the ACI segmentation features and will demo real-world examples of how to gain much more value from your ACI investment.

What can you do to protect your data?

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Data security is important not just for large enterprises but also for small and medium-sized businesses. Data can be the life blood of an organization and is critical to operations. It is important for businesses large and small to create a data security solution.

A recent Network World article highlighted these steps to take:

  • Start with your network. Don’t leave data security to systems run on employee devices. Create a front line defense and secure your network
  • Manage passwords. How are employees choosing passwords to enter your network and access data? Is it the same password used across countless personal accounts? Password management is another font line defense to protect your data
  • Encryption. From computer hard drives to emails to attachments, encryption is an often overlooked form of data security
  • Lock your devices. What is your company policy on using PINs and passwords not just for laptops and computers but also for mobile phones and tablets. For devices that can access your network, there should be a policy of using passwords and PINs required. You should even review your physical in-office devices to ensure they are locked in place to make theft more difficult
  • Make sure you can remote wipe. Make sure you have processes and systems in place to remove applications and data from devices that are lost or stolen
  • Backs up are important to data security. Not only is backing up your data important to operations, but in the event of a security breach, a backup can allow you to restore your data more quickly and reduce downtime
  • Monitor and review. Also often overlooked is the importance of monitoring and reviewing your network. Who has access and what is usual activity and what is not. There are a number of networking solutions that can give you the visibility you need to monitor

Finally, employee awareness and training is also critical for data security success. Employees should know the steps to take to properly access the network, policies for data use, understand common threats and know how to report suspicious activity. In today’s world data security is not just the function of the IT solution; instead, employees at all levels need to play an active role in keeping company data secure.

CIOs Share Network Improvement Tips

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Improving your networking solution can enhance performance and make data and applications more secure. A recent Forbes article gathered the following network improvement tips from leading CIOs.

  • Look to software not just hardware. CIOs are finding that hardware only improves bandwidth so far and are now leveraging software-defined network (SDN) solutions and network functions virtualization (NFV) to simplify administration and improve visibility.
  • Conquer latency. Latency is always an IT concern. Leading CIOs are moving to several new methods to combat such as, using file transfer acceleration technologies vs. TCP/IP protocol, implementing network monitoring tools and by breaking down large packets.
  • Understand application network usage. Many companies do not know how much capacity applications eat up. Mapping the impact of application use with other network factors helps IT gain a more complete picture of performance.
  • Prepare your network for the cloud. Cloud can change not only network management but also architecture. As cloud continues to enter our everyday operations, your network needs to be able to handle future public or private traffic and X-as-a-Service solutions.

Network performance is one piece of the puzzle. Network security is the other piece. A secure networking solution is fundamental to overall IT operations health. Here are several tips to consider for improving network security:

  • Micro-segmentation sets limitations and “zones of trust” to manage how far a group or individual can move within your network and access data
  • Many companies do not have a log or inventory of what devices access the network and when and where. Creating an inventory of network-connected devices can be key to improving visibility
  • Does your company utilize IoT technology? IoT devices are new entry and access points to your network and it is essential to think through access and security just as you would any other device or user

In today’s world, network performance is essential to keeping business users and customers happy and network security is crucial to keeping company data safe. Take the time to assess your networking solution and determine what improvements it may need.