Get your backstage pass to the most exciting data event of 2019

Get your backstage pass to the most exciting data event of 2019

Have you ever wanted to be a rock star? Perform onstage like The Beatles, Led Zepplin, or even The Rolling Stones?

Cisco and Cohesity consolidate data and applications on a hyperconverged platform that boosts your data visibility and protection across on-premise data centers and multi-cloud environments. read more

Manchester Met and Cisco launch IoT ‘makerspace’

Manchester Met and Cisco launch IoT ‘makerspace’

Cisco and Manchester Metropolitan University, together with The Foundation for Digital Creativity announced the launch of thingQbator, an on-campus IoT Makerspace to help fuel the digital talent pipeline in the city.

Cisco thingQbator is a network of makerspaces with partner universities. The community driven innovation labs allow students from all backgrounds and degree courses to get hands-on with technology and turn IoT ideas into working prototypes.

thingQbator aims to enable students to learn by doing, and to provide local digital solutions for local problems. Students in the first cohort of thingQbator Manchester came together to explore solutions for urban challenges. Groups used field trials across the city to collect and innovate with data. Individual project goals included reducing social isolation, improving air quality, app development with an ethical carbon footprint and wearables to highlight the interrelationship between urban planning and smart cities.

The collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University is being supported by the Foundation for Digital Creativity. The programme provides students with tools, training, mentoring and advice to help them make their ideas a reality and help nurture and encourage entrepreneurship.

Maria Hernandez, Head of Innovation, Cisco UK & Ireland said: “Manchester is a hub of innovation with an important role to play in driving digitisation in the UK. We’re excited to be continuing our collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University as it cultivates the business ideas and entrepreneurs of the future. thingQbator quite literally helps to bring the biggest and brightest ideas to life in IoT prototypes.”

Paul Bason, Director of Innovation at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “This partnership with Cisco and the Foundation for Digital Creativity is important in developing new opportunities for students working with new technologies.  We see that working more closely with business and creating project-based learning across discipline boundaries will be an important aspect of university teaching for the future.  At Manchester Met we are intending to grow our capacity in this area through our £35m investment in the School of Digital Arts (SODA) – this new school is due to open in 2021 and will teach the next generation of technologists and content producers.”

Dr Andrew Robinson, Co-Founder of Foundation for Digital Creativity, said “This is a great opportunity in our mission to democratise IoT; a chance to empower a diverse background of people to improve the world through connected, digital technology”.

Today’s announcement is the latest example of Cisco’s commitment to support digitisation in the UK. Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration(CDA) strategy is a long-term partnership with government, industry and academia to deliver real outcomes faster and more effectively for the country.

Over the past two years, Cisco has led several collaborative initiatives to help solve challenges and  drive opportunities in Greater Manchester. These includes the opening of its Mi-IDEA Innovation Centre in partnership with MSP in 2017, and its lead role in CityVerve, the UK’s smart city demonstrator created in Manchester, to help solve challenges across health & social care, energy & environment, travel & transport and culture & public realm. To find out more please click here.

Cisco DNA Early Adopter’s Program

Cisco DNA Early Adopter’s Program

Cisco want customers to get the most out of their Cisco DNA Center, so if you haven’t started, or are ready to move forward with the next steps, Cisco are here to help!

SCC’s customers have been selected as part of Cisco’s exclusive “early adopter’s program.” As an early adopter, you have access to one-of-a-kind resources and expert Cisco technical assistance, on a first come, first served basis, for FREE!

Learn more about these great resources and register below:

1:1 Cisco Expert Session

Join a Cisco DNA Center expert via WebEx to learn about what free resources are available to aid you in your adoption journey.

Reserve your spot today!

Register here

Test Drive

Join Cisco for an all-day “Test Drive” where Cisco experts will demonstrate product features and answer your questions.

27th June at Cisco’s Bedfont Lakes office.

Register here

Cisco rebrands Spark as WebEx to simplify partners’ go to market

Cisco rebrands Spark as WebEx to simplify partners’ go to market

Cisco is saying goodbye to Spark branding and incorporating the offering under its WebEx platform as partners are struggling to differentiate between the two offerings. Nirav Sheth, VP of architectures, solutions and engineering for Cisco’s Global Partner Organization, explained that this was a response to partner concerns over how to differentiate between the two products.

Cisco Spark will now be known as WebEx Teams as Cisco is saying goodbye to Spark Meetings in favour of WebEx meetings only.

According to Sheth, WebEx has become the most trusted brand in the industry for meetings and collaboration, with three billion meeting minutes a month and nearly 40 billion meeting minutes annually, along with 80 percent brand name recognition by knowledge workers around the world.

“Prior to this convergence, we had Cisco Spark with its own type of meeting – the Spark meeting, but we still had WebEx with its own WebEx meetings. Users could join Cisco Spark meetings only from the Cisco Spark app and WebEx meetings from the WebEx app,” Jonathan Rosenberg, Cisco fellow, VP and CTO for Cisco’s collaboration business, explained in a blog post this week.

“Users could join WebEx meetings from Cisco Spark if they were clever, but they did not get any of the critical meetings features. With this convergence – it’s all simplified,” he added.

Cisco also introduced a new WebEx Meetings application, WebEx Assistant and a WebEx Share hardware device, Rosenberg noted.

Cybersecurity Awareness Begins – and Ends – with Employees

Cybersecurity Awareness Begins – and Ends – with Employees

This month advocates worldwide continue to shine the light on cybersecurity. In the U.S. this week’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month theme is “From the Break Room to the Boardroom: Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity in the Workplace.” We at Cisco firmly believe that people are a core component of an organization’s protection efforts, and organizations should place employees at the center of their security efforts.

Why? Because “mistakes” by employees account for one-quarter of data breaches, according to research from the Ponemon Institute.

To avoid such losses, it’s critical that organizations create a culture of cybersecurity awareness. Protecting proprietary and/or sensitive internal and customer data isn’t the sole responsibility of the IT department – nor should it be. While deploying the latest network defense tools is important, a successful cyber strategy should include developing a culture of cybersecurity within the workplace. The developers can focus on writing secure, quality code, while the human resources department and concentrate on maintaining employee privacy. It’s about instilling best practices into the day-to-day routines of the entire workforce, to the point where it is a healthy lifestyle choice in support of your organization’s ‘cyber-health’. A workforce that follows regular practices that keep data assets safe can help minimize risk.

At Cisco, we take the following people-centric steps to drive company-wide security awareness:

Educate them. According to the Ponemon Institute research, employee training reduces the cost of every compromised record by $9. Through training, websites, articles, digital signage, videos, all-hands meetings and blogs, we’re constantly educating our workforce about cybersecurity. Take phishing, for example, which is the number one source of endpoint compromises and something that any employee can fall victim to. We show employees what a phishing scam looks like, with an adversary “disguising” a malware-containing link to appear like a legitimate business inquiry, like this example:


We illustrate the proper way to obtain, classify, mark and store customer data so it is safeguarded. We make it clear that external, non-Cisco approved, cloud file sharing tools put data in danger – and emphasize the use of Cisco-approved tools.

Passwords are a simple, but big, part of our educational efforts. We teach employees how to use more effective passwords – a mix of letters and numbers and special characters – and enforce policies that require the changing of passwords on a regular basis.

Test them. Every effort to educate should involve a test, shouldn’t it? At least we try to make it fun. Remember how we show employees what a phishing scam looks like? To determine whether they’ve paid attention, we periodically send phishing emails to all employees. For those who “take the bait,” they are immediately directed to what we call the “Phish Pond,” an internal landing page. Here, our information security team explains what they did wrong, and how to avoid it in the future. Soon after that, we email to them another mock phishing attempt and, if they click on the suspect link again, we send them back to the Pond for more education.

We also make abundant use of online polls and quizzes – a quick way to reinforce best practices and behaviors to avoid. In addition, we’re collecting and analyzing responses to get a better sense of the level of knowledge of our workforce on the topic.

Make them accountable. Ultimately, we need our employees to understand that we are not requesting they apply cybersecurity hygiene to their usage of the network, computers, mobile devices, apps and data – we’re mandating it. Every year, all employees must review and sign a code of business conduct that covers a broad range of topics, including cybersecurity and data protection. With this, they are committing to a standard of accountability that defines their responsibilities to Cisco and its customers.

Our Phish Pond exercise enters the equation here too: If employees “bite” for a third time, we work with them and their managers to come up with a formal, corrective course of action – one that inevitably involves more intensified training.

Cisco’s dedication to a culture of cybersecurity awareness goes beyond being just a “workplace thing” – we’re cultivating a digital lifestyle. Our employees should completely understand that they play a critical role in the protection of our systems, data and, ultimately, the company. Like avoiding a medical virus in life, you seek to identify where and how problems happen, and change behaviors accordingly.

We stress to all our employees that this really is about business, and that we do not want our data protection policies to restrict them from achieving ROI-generating strategic goals. Guardrails, after all, do not block traffic – they keep cars from going off a cliff. From their first day to their last, our employees learn where the cybersecurity “cliffs” are – and more importantly, how to steer in the right direction.

Steve Martino is Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at Cisco. For more information on data protection, visit