Preparation for the future

Preparation for the future

Preparation for the future

If you need network connectivity, you need wireless access points. Cisco offers simple-to-deploy, flexible, and secure wireless solutions designed to enable your employees and customers to communicate and collaborate like never before.

What is a Wireless Access Point (WAP)?

wireless access point (WAP) is a networking device that allows wireless-capable devices to connect to a wired network. It is simpler and easier to install WAPs to connect all the computers or devices in your network than to use wires and cables. Using a WAP lets you create a wireless network within your existing wired network, so you can accommodate wireless devices.

Simple

An intuitive mobile app simplifies network set-up and management. Add wireless coverage with a simple mesh extender plug-in.

Flexible

Predictable performance in a compact form factor ideal for small to mid-size enterprise deployments.

Secure

The Integrated Cisco Umbrella end-to-end security prevents malware, phishing, and other threats from reaching your network.

Preparation for the future

When you invest in WAPs that feature future-ready modularity, you are helping to ready your IT infrastructure to support next-generation technologies. Learn more about the different types of access point configurations.

Building blocks for small business networks

Building blocks for small business networks

Building blocks for small business networks

From connectivity to cloud applications, networking plays a crucial role in every business journey. Reliability, security, and affordability continue to be top of mind, while ongoing management and operations add additional complexity that take time and resources.

Critical building block for any small business network

Cisco Business is a portfolio of affordable wireless access points, switches and routers designed and built for Small Business. Managed through Cisco Business Dashboard and mobile app, the portfolio provides a simple and reliable experience.

Cisco Business 350 Series models

The Cisco Business 350 Series Managed Switches are reliable building blocks for the small business network. With an intuitive dashboard, advanced features, and pervasive security, the Cisco Business 350 Series Managed Switches are positioned to accelerate your digital transformation.

Cisco Business Dashboard

Cisco Business Dashboard makes managing a business network easy by automating the deployment, monitoring, and lifecycle management of Cisco Business switches, routers, and wireless access points.

Features and benefits

Simplicity

Use the intuitive dashboard to automate the deployment, monitoring, and lifecycle management of your switches.

Security

Pervasive security helps safeguards your network and the privacy of your customers.

Performance

Gigabit, multigigabit and 10G ports and wire-speed performance provide a solid foundation for the small business network.

Flexibility

Get true stacking of up to four switches, all functioning as a single device with unified management and control.

High Reliability and Resiliency

Cisco Business 350 Series Switches offer the reliable performance and peace of mind you expect from a Cisco switch. A solution that has been rigorously tested to help ensure optimal network uptime to ensure business continuity.

CIO + CFO: the ultimate digital transformation partnership

CIO + CFO: the ultimate digital transformation partnership

CIO + CFO: the ultimate digital transformation partnership

By the time you reach the C-suite level, the roles are so specialised they may appear to have almost no overlap. It’s certainly the case with CIOs and CFOs; however, that’s changing.

As companies embark on their digital transformation journeys, they’re likely to need both. To prevent a bottleneck, the CIO must balance their instincts to move the organisation forward with the CFO’s priorities of protecting its financial health.

Could approaching digitisation as a shared responsibility build a bridge across the digital divide?

CIO vs CFO

The best leaders are usually the most devoted. The roles at the top of the org chart have clear objectives, and the people behind them put in considerable effort to meet their individual responsibilities.

Here’s how that breaks down on the technical and fiscal side:

  • From a CFO’s standpoint: Maintaining financial control takes precedence above all else. If the organisation isn’t fiscally efficient, no one else can do their job. In times of economic uncertainty – or a global pandemic – they have to manage a variety of complicating factors that can jeopardise the organisation.
  • In the CIO’s perspective: IT operations are the most mission-critical aspects of any modern company. Digital innovation makes it possible to keep up with changing customer demands and technological advancements that keep the company competitive.

Where their priorities differ

Companies that survived the COVID-19 crisis primarily did so by leaning into digital transformation. CFOs had a front row seat for these essential shifts.

But getting financial buy-in on costly, sweeping changes and tech tools wasn’t always so easy.

Until recently, many IT purchases were simply seen as expenditures. It’s still taking time for CFOs to evolve that mindset and view new technologies as investments. That’s especially difficult if they can’t get a full grasp on the tech’s innovation potential.

On the CIO side, the most important concern is finding the right solution. Once they have, they want to shift their focus to implementing it and growing the business, not waiting for the check to clear.

Creating common ground

No doubt, both sides of the C-suite have their hearts in the right places. So how can these two come together and create meaningful change instead of stalling progress?

It starts the same way any good relationship does: with good communication. As Chief Information Officer, Vishal Gupta, tells CIO, “To be successful, the CIOs…and their teams must regularly meet to build trust and a deeper understanding of what the other side is looking to achieve. Having open, transparent communication or common town halls will help both the organisations to develop more empathy and collaboration with each other.”

From there, organisations have the groundwork in place to foster a strong, collaborative relationship between their CIOs and CFOs by:

  1. Communicating IT value: CIOs must articulate why an IT purchase or organsational change is needed now, and how it will impact ROI long term. CFOs need to understand the function of the technology as much as its potential impact to feel confident giving it the green light.
  2. Seeing where their metrics merge: The entire C-suite prioritises financial performance. Create common KPIs that matter to each department so they can better assess IT investments.
  3. Using technology to streamline finance operations: CIOs that create better financial insights through digitisation can give CFOs a proof of concept and establish a collaborative working dynamic.
  4. Making a collective budgeting process: The more agile, the better.
  5. Creating business volatility strategies: Sometimes, it takes coming together over a common enemy, like a global pandemic, to take the next step.

To realise true digital transformation, CFOs and CIOs need to trust that the other understands their individual priorities – and that the collective interests of the organisation are represented. Once this happens, it creates a slingshot effect that drives innovation forward.

IoT Data Tokenisation in Enterprise Blockchains

IoT Data Tokenisation in Enterprise Blockchains

IoT Data Tokenisation in Enterprise Blockchains

Since blockchain emerged alongside Bitcoin over a decade ago, the technology has come a long way and today serves many industries as a decentralised, secure, and efficient medium for exchanging digital assets.

The blockchain market is predicted to grow to nearly 40 billion USD by 2025. Blockchain promises an efficient way to store data, execute transactions, perform business functions and establish trust in open environments. Most of the blockchain strengths reside in intelligent cryptographic algorithms and distributed computing concepts.

Blockchain is becoming the much-needed solution for data and insight sharing in highly regulated environments such as healthcare and financial industries. At the same time, it democratises the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) applications by facilitating the secure and regulated exchange of valuable data and business insights.

Information like any other asset can be tokenised and exchanged on the blockchains. For example, HPE Swarm Learning is a new concept that uses blockchains to exchange valuable insights between intelligent devices at the edge while protecting the underlying data from being exposed. Read on to learn about blockchain capabilities, how enterprise assets can be tokenised, and the details of HPE’s Swarm Learning tool.

Blockchain overview

Blockchain can be seen as a decentralised database that is shared across the nodes of a network. The database stores information about transactions that occur in the network. Every participant in a network holds the latest validated version of a blockchain. New transactions are added to the database only after the predefined consensus is reached.

Consensus mechanisms in the blockchains are backed by advanced cryptographic algorithms that offer inherent advantages. Namely, these algorithms make the blockchains secure and immutable. Once the data is entered into a blockchain, it cannot be removed or tampered with, while any participant in the network can use unique signatures to verify the validity of network transactions.

Blockchains can be classified as public, private, and consortium.

Public blockchains, typically cryptocurrency blockchains, are open for everyone to participate. These blockchains are also termed “permissionless” since they do not need any special permissions for participation.

Private blockchains have restricted access and operate under rules that define how data is accessed and how the consensus is reached. These blockchains are so-called “permissioned” blockchains. Private blockchains have a defined user hierarchy and, while not fully decentralised, still offer the security characteristics of public blockchains. This is when taking into account one attack vector.

Consortium blockchains are semi-private, permissioned environments that are governed by a consortium of enterprises. Consensus is often reached through a group of validators. The access rules are flexible, and the data’s visibility can be granted to only selected members or all participants.

Blockchain capabilities

Both permissionless and permissioned, blockchains offer numerous business advantages.

The first and foremost blockchain capability is facilitating trust in open business environments. Blockchains are often called trustless networks because participants do not have to trust each other to engage in business transactions. The mechanisms that fuel the trust are security, transparency, and traceability.

Blockchains are decentralised and allow peer-to-peer transactions. Business transactions are verified once the predetermined consensus is reached, and there is no need for an intermediary party. When a transaction is initiated, the details are broadcast to the network participants. After successful validation, the transaction is added to the blockchain and cannot be modified afterwards.

The transactions in a blockchain network are fully visible and traceable. Participants of a blockchain can individually verify all transactions historically and view the transaction details. Due to the inherent security advantages of underlying cryptographic algorithms, blockchain transactions are immutable.

The automation in blockchains is mainly achieved through the smart contracts feature. Smart contracts are simply the rules programmed to execute once a predetermined set of conditions are met. Thus, automated contracts eliminate the need for intermediaries and can automate complicated workflows. Their execution triggers new contracts that eventually lead to meeting specific business goals for participating parties.

Tokenisation of enterprise assets

Blockchain tokens are digital representations of assets with value. Participants of the blockchain can buy, sell and exchange these tokens via blockchain transactions. One of the main advantages of the tokens is that they enable trading of a normally indivisible asset (art painting, real estate, etc.).

Tokens in the enterprise blockchains can increase operational efficiency. In enterprise blockchains, tokens are issued (minted) based on the proof of possession of an asset. In other words, tokens are pegged to an enterprise asset. Once issued, these tokens can be transferred, traded, or redeemed depending on the use case.

Tokens enable the trading of intangible assets such as data or information as well. Similar to other enterprise assets, fiat currency or gold can also be tokenised. So-called stable coins are pegged to real-world commodities and can speed up transactions and eliminate the need for intermediaries.

Blockchain in practice

Tokenisation is an area of massive growth in blockchain, with many industries starting to embrace its potential. The partnership between Blockhead Technologies and ABC Refinery is one home-grown example.

ABC Refinery, Australia’s largest independent precious metals service group, last year partnered with Blockhead Technologies to create a technology platform that enables precious metal traceability and tampering detection. Fraudulent gold bullion is an increasingly costly issue as the price of gold climbs. Blockhead’s blockchain-enabled ‘STAMP Vision’ platform uses advanced image processing of gold bullion and, by leveraging the security of the blockchain, can track gold throughout the entire supply chain.

The advanced image processing creates a ‘digital fingerprint’ for each gold and silver bullion bar and stores it in a cryptographically secure manner. This information is quickly accessible via a mobile app, enabling ABC Refinery to see that the bullion is authentic and has not been tampered with.

Swarm learning

In the current IoT (Internet of Things) use cases, the data is shuttled back and forth from the edge to a central data centre for analysis, and results are delivered back to the edge. This back-and-forth method is slow, expensive, and not secure. It simply cannot support the needs of intelligent devices. With Swarm Learning, insights gathered by smart devices at the edge can be shared globally, without needing to shuttle private data to a centralised hub or cloud. Not only does this create a less expensive and more elegant system, but data sovereignty is protected.

In the Swarm Learning scenario, the intelligent devices process data right at the source. The processing takes place within edge devices such as semi-autonomous vehicles that gather petabytes of driving data each day or in a fraud detection system that tracks credit card purchases as they happen. In both of these scenarios, the observations gathered at many locations are only truly valuable when shared and turned into a collective understanding by the entire group. This way, when one vehicle encounters a problem, an entire fleet can be trained to avoid it.

With the help of blockchains, the insights can be sharable and secure. By tokenising intelligent insights, enterprises can trade them in a global, blockchain-backed marketplace. The process allows blockchain participants to sell or exchange information without giving away the underlying data. Thus, Swarm Learning enables the monetisation of information processed at the edge.

Final thoughts

Huge amounts of data are collected daily from edge devices, whether they be sensors, IoT, or endpoint computing. These vast amounts of, often sensitive, data require a solution that protects the data from its collection point at the edge to the subsequent movements and actions applied to it.

Blockchains enable secure and transparent peer-to-peer transactions in business environments. The businesses that use blockchains are capable of cutting costs due to the improved efficiency of transactions. For example, automated transaction handling eliminates the tasks of data handling, reporting, and auditing. At the same time, automatic settlement of transactions saves cost by eliminating the need for intermediary vendors.

Blockchains are a necessary element of Swarm Learning. They enable edge locations to share insights in a trusted manner. As a result, systems become more intelligent, faster, less biased, and more accurate, and AI algorithms can be trained on a greater volume of data while following relevant privacy laws. Swarm Learning is also reducing IT costs by eliminating unnecessary data movement and duplication.

The world is shifting from data centres to millions of centres of data. It is only a matter of time when tools such as Swarm Learning will become mainstream. For modern IT organisations it is essential to start implementing IoT, edge, AI, and blockchain solutions into their workflows to maintain their competitive advantage.

Consider the types and volume of data your business is collecting at the edge and how you want to automate and secure that data and its movement. By keeping the data as close to the source as possible, your organisation will see greater efficiencies. As your IT partner, we’re interested in hearing more about your edge requirements and helping you fully leverage the available solutions.

Exploring the Possibilities of Aruba Central

Exploring the Possibilities of Aruba Central

Exploring the Possibilities of Aruba Central

Cloud adoption and the intelligent edge have rapidly accelerated in recent years, transforming IT domains such as compute, storage and, now, the network. For businesses to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances, they must take advantage of new networking technology; with agility, connectivity, and the ability to support remote and WFH models as priorities.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this need, requiring networks to have a unified infrastructure that eliminates silos and streamlines operations with full security, and AI powered features that can identify issues before they occur.

As organisations pivot to hybrid working environments, there are common challenges that many companies face. Ensuring optimal network efficiencies with near-zero downtime so that users can communicate remotely with each other, their clients, and company servers is critical. This challenge is further compounded by many organisations having outdated management systems, and historically complex and distributed IT infrastructure, including diverse communication channels, network architectures, and software applications.

Additional challenges include:

        • Technology silos – Which hinder agility
        • Lack of automation and visibility – Time-consuming implementation and poor understanding of root cause issues
        • Security threats – Unauthorised installations of IOT devices
        • Remote worker issues – Limited performance and output
        • Economic and resource constraints – Reallocating budgets to meet shifting priorities

As a result, legacy networks struggle to manage the requirements of today’s business environments.

The network needs of modern businesses

To ensure business success, agility and operational efficiency are critical. Modern networks must keep up and have the ability to deploy services to support the Intelligent edge, and to see beyond the here and now.

Aruba Central is a powerful cloud networking solution with AI-powered insights, workflow automation, and robust security that enables IT to manage and optimise campus, branch, remote, data centre, and IoT networks from a single dashboard. All of which can be consumed as a service.

Below we explore some primary network requirements for modern businesses and how they can be met with Aruba Central.

1. Network performance

Automation must be a defining characteristic of the modern network. Configuring, managing, testing, deploying, and operating physical and virtual network devices should be automated.

Network service availability (or uptime) improves exponentially when daily tasks, functions and repetitive processes are automated.

Aruba Central’s analytics reports compare the latest metrics against pre-programmed operational models, providing real-time information to help make functional decisions to improve network performance, broad visibility, and monitoring.

Raw network data, including real-time streaming data, is collected and analysed to provide up-to-date information that will help improve the performance, reliability, visibility, or security of the network.

2. Network management

Networks that are managed using a variety of siloed tools, with limited AI functionality, and reduced feature and deployment flexibility can impact agility and the ability to support ever-changing working environments. Today’s management systems include AI-powered features with built-in security, and the ability to unify network operations across all domains and locations.

Aruba Central has a vision for unifying network management under a single pane of glass. This ‘as a service’ model is gaining traction due to the ability to control costs, increase efficiency, and reduce downtime. It also enables organisations greater flexibility and control over how they consume and pay for their network management.

3. Network assurance

Network assurance is essential to ensure that the appropriate level and quality of network service are delivered to customers. These assurance features help improve network performance and security as well as the user experience.

The most effective way to implement a robust network assurance strategy is to ensure that network security, usage, and quality policies are clearly defined and well-maintained. The network and the assets, infrastructure, data, and software remain secured at all times.

Aruba Central is designed to cater to both cloud and on-premises network infrastructure; thereby, providing a single solution for organisations that have networks that span both environments and have either cloud or on-premises network architecture.

Benefits of a cloud-based networking system

To maximise the many advantages of the cloud, a network should be agile with the ability to connect into and out of cloud data centres through to remote working locations.

The benefits of cloud networking include:

        • Reduced infrastructure spend
        • Automated, centralised software updates ensuring that the network and all devices on the network are secure and patched, preventing hackers from gaining unauthorised access
        • Automate and assist decision making by powering AI and machine learning
        • The ability to quickly scale up and scale down IT infrastructure without having to purchase and wait for expensive equipment to arrive
        • Improved productivity and user experience

Aruba Central is unique in that it is the only cloud-native networking solution that orchestrates the management of such diverse network infrastructure. It is designed to simplify the maintenance of corporate networks through a single interface or dashboard for all operations.

Aruba Central’s key benefits include:

        • AIOps (Artificial Intelligence and Operations) for wireless, wired, and SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) or virtual networks which enables the network to predict issues before they occur, resulting in a proactive approach rather than reactive
        • The ability to rapidly scale up to tens of thousands of cloud, on-premises, and as-a-service devices in a single instance resulting in better use of resources and outcomes
        • Zero-touch provisioning that simplifies deployment and lifecycle management
        • Automated orchestrated capabilities from a centralised management console
        • Zero trust security to increase protection levels whilst simplifying operations
        • IT teams are able to manage network infrastructure remotely

Aruba Central offers organisations a simple, secure, and cost-effective way to deploy, monitor, and manage both wired and wireless networks.

Aruba Central has the capacity to simplify the process of adopting a cloud-based network architecture. And where remote employees need to install their own edge network devices, Aruba’s zero-touch provisioning allows non-technical users to unpack and power on the Access Point (AP) or switch. Its configuration and firmware are downloaded and installed directly from Aruba Central.

Aruba Central offers the ability to set up the zero-touch provisioning and monitor from a centralised user interface (UI) to ensure that the devices are provisioned correctly for remote employees. Analytics provided by Aruba Central to monitor and optimise these devices can be used to improve remote worker productivity.

Final thoughts

When implementing a successful hybrid remote/office model, one of the most significant considerations for all organisations is the imperative of upgrading or improving their IT network and server infrastructure.

Aruba Central is the only cloud-based networking platform that supports both on-premises and cloud-based networking with a single UI to deploy, manage, and monitor infrastructure across campus, branch, data centre, and remote workers.

With today’s ever-changing working environments, contact us, as your IT partner, to find out more about how Aruba Central can work for you.

Turn your entire network into an extension of your security architecture

Turn your entire network into an extension of your security architecture

Turn your entire network into an extension of your security architecture

As your business-critical applications are a blend of cloud and on-premise based and users need secure access to resources from everywhere, the traditional firewall approach no longer works. Your single network perimeter has evolved to multiple micro-perimeters. For many organisations the application is the new perimeter, and traditional firewall deployments have evolved to a mixture of physical, virtual, and cloud-native appliances. As a result, organisations are struggling to operationalise support for modern application environments. The challenges of how to maintain consistent visibility, policy enforcement, and uniform threat visibility without opening vulnerabilities that expose the organisation to risk.

The Cisco Secure Firewall portfolio delivers greater protections for your network against an increasingly evolving and complex set of threats. With Cisco, you’re investing in a foundation for security that is both agile and integrated- leading to the strongest security posture available today and tomorrow. From your data centre, branch offices, cloud environments, and everywhere in between, you can leverage the power of Cisco to turn your existing network infrastructure into an extension of your firewall solution, resulting in world-class security controls everywhere you need them.

The firewall at your security platform’s core

World-class security controls

Defending networks against increasingly sophisticated threats requires industry-leading intelligence and consistent protections everywhere. Improve your security posture today with Cisco Secure Firewall.

Consistent policy and visibility

As networks become more interconnected, achieving comprehensive threat visibility and consistent policy management is difficult. Simplify security management and gain visibility across distributed and hybrid networks.

Integrate network and security

Cisco Secure Firewall sets the foundation for integrating powerful threat prevention capabilities into your existing network infrastructure, making the network a logical extension of your firewall solution.

Reduce complexity with Cisco Secure Firewall

Real-time, unified, workload and network security for integrated control across dynamic application environments

Platform approach to network security, leveraging and sharing intelligence from key sources for faster detection, response, and remediation

Safeguard remote workers with highly secure enterprise access anytime, anywhere, from any device, with powerful threat prevention capabilities that protect the organisation, users and critical applications

SecureX entitlement included with every Cisco Secure Firewall, for a tightly integrated approach to security that enables threat correlation across the Cisco Secure portfolio and accelerates incident response

Simplify your security

Investing in a Secure Firewall appliance today gives you robust protections against even the most sophisticated threats without compromising performance when inspecting encrypted traffic.