The networking giant looks to address everything from management to security to user experience with its new tools.
Cisco Systems is giving network administrators new tools to
handle the flood of personal mobile devices that employees are using to access
corporate networks and data.
Cisco officials said that the new offerings, announced March
20, are designed to create a comprehensive approach to the growing trend of
bring your own device (BYOD), which the rapid adoption of such mobile devices
as smartphones and tabletsand employees desire to use them at workis fueling.
The BYOD trend puts greater management and security pressures
on network administrators, and its not going to slow. However, how much
corporations are embracing the trend varies. In
a recent survey
, Cisco found that 75 percent of IT managers in the United
States say there need to be new rules and policies around security and device
use. However, many also seem to be ignoring the issue: 48 percent of respondents
said their companies would never authorize employees to bring their own
devices, while 57 percent admitted that some employees use personal devices
That said, a survey by Avanade found that about 60 percent of
companies are adopting their IT infrastructures to handle the BYOD
Most major networking vendorsfrom Juniper Networks and Extreme
and AirTight Networks
are pushing features and technologies designed to
address the trend.
Cisco officials said their new tools offer a more
wide-ranging approach to the problem.
"The BYOD trend is here to stay, but companies must move
beyond the basic act of connecting user-owned devices to a comprehensive BYOD
strategy to meet employee demands, Sujai Hajela, vice president and general
manager of Ciscos Wireless Networking Business Unit, said in a statement. Unlike
competitors, Cisco is approaching BYOD holistically.
The networking vendors new tools are based on its Borderless
Network initiative, with Ciscos Identify Services Engine (ISE) offering some
key enhancements. Among those is ISE 1.1MR, which makes it easier for employees
to self-provision their own devices and lift some of that burden from the IT
department. In addition, Cisco officials are looking to integrate mobile device
management (MDM) solutions from the likes of AirWatch, Good, MobileIron and
Zenprise into ISE, which would give IT administrators greater control over
device access and policies, such as requiring the devices to have a pin lock,
not allowing jailbroken devices onto the network, and being able to remotely
wipe data on lost or stolen devices.
The importance of such policies was highlighted in Ciscos "Connected
World Technology Report," which said that 70 percent of employees
worldwide admit to breaking IT policies.
In addition, Cisco is upgrading its wireless LAN offerings
with its new United Wireless Network Software 7.2, which offers users a better
video experience though its VideoStream technology, and with the ability to
enable a single controller to support up to 3,000 access points and 30,000 clients.
That addresses the growing trend of people having more than one or two mobile
devices. The new software also offers optimized Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)
support, a key feature, given that 71 percent of smartphones and tablets1.6
billionwill be IPv6-capable by 2016, according to Cisco.
Cisco also is rolling out enhancements to its Cisco Prime
management portfolio, including Prime Assurance Manager 1.1, a new management
platform designed to give IT administrators greater visibility into application
performance on both wired and wireless networks, as well as end-user devices.
In addition, Prime Infrastructure 1.1 offers more complete lifecycle management
across wired and wireless networks, as well as specific offerings for branch
not just about connecting user-owned devices and allowing guest access, Cisco
Senior Vice President and CIO Rebecca Jacoby said in a statement. It's about
what you do after thatthat's when things get interesting. Cisco goes beyond
that first step to provide companies with a complete solution to tackle the
BYOD phenomenon today and tomorrow."
Network Software Release 7.2, Prime Assurance Manager 1.1 and Prime
Infrastructure 1.1 are available now. ISE 1.1MR will be available this summer,
while its integration with MDM features will come by the end of 2012, according