Cisco Live Day 3!

My day 3 started off a little bit later than usual as my first session wasn’t until the late morning where I attended ‘Security Monitoring with Stealthwatch: The detailed Walkthrough’. This session was based around a product I have heard of and read much about before but I have not had any hands-on experience, so my hope was that this detailed walkthrough would be a good starting point for me to get a closer look at this product and what it can offer.

One recurring theme and question I have seen throughout the last few days is how do we get the most out of our data?. Every day we are collecting all of this data that comes into our network, but how do we make it relevant and actionable?. The purpose of this seminar was to show how Stealthwatch can help make your data relevant and usable as to allow the customer to analyse potential threats and learn how to prevent them from entering your network.

Once the overview of the product was finished I felt that a lot of the detailed information was lost on me, it seemed to be more aimed at people who already use Stealthwatch but want to get more from the product. I did, however, take a lot away from this session and for moving forward I would like to create some time to run this in one of the hands-on labs over the next few days.

After a short coffee break, it was straight into session two for: ‘Best practises to deploy high-availability in Wireless LAN Architecture’.

 

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This was a session I was really looking forward to as I already know a lot about Cisco’s Wireless range, and for me being able to understand how to make it highly available was a big bonus. The session did not disappoint, and after going through the introduction and current product range we started taking a closer look at the considerations around HA. One quote the presenter made which hit home for me was ‘Site Survey, site survey, site survey’. Too often I feel customers don’t realise the importance of doing a site survey and they see it as a waste of money, however, these surveys enable us to understand the environment and ensure we can implement a robust solution to fit their environments landscape.

My three main takeaways from this session are:

  • HA for Wireless is a multi-level approach
  • The solution you choose is based on the amount of downtime that is acceptable for your customers business application
  • SSO on the controller eliminates the network downtime upon a controller failure

With back to back sessions, I decided to head down to the HUB for some lunch and a look at what labs were available today. I was hoping to do one on Stealthwatch, however, that was not on the list for today, and with nothing else taking my fancy, I decided to head over to the DevNet Sandboxed labs to go through some of my CCNA labs.

My final session of the day was ‘Security Meets SD-WAN with the Cisco Meraki MX’. I have done many Meraki installations over the last few years, so the MX was something I was looking forward to learning a bit more about. For those who are not aware of Meraki, it offers a complete Cloud managed network solution for Wireless, switching, security, SD-WAN, Communications and even security cameras. My own experience is that Meraki is more known for its Wireless products and I feel Cisco Meraki has not promoted/marketed the other ranges as much as they could have done. I have however have seen a change in recent months and feel this year could see a big increase in the Meraki portfolio sales.

The main benefits of a cloud-managed solution are:

  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Scalability
  • Future proofing

In my opinion, the two key elements are the last two listed, as with hardware and on-premises solutions it can be sometimes difficult and costly to upscale and ensure you future proof due to hardware constraints. One thing I was not aware of until this session was that Meraki Cloud is backed by Cisco Talos threat intelligence, which for me is massive. Not only does it increase the cloud security but means it is always getting threat updates and learning. In addition to the IPS and Advanced Malware protection, Cisco Meraki is ensuring that their Cloud Platform is secure and has the capabilities to stays secure in the future. Again another theme for me this week is the real world examples, and this session was no different. For me, it added that bit of realism to the product that I needed to believe in what I was being told in the session. The 2nd half of the session got more into the technical aspects of the SD WAN deployment which was the new part for me along with the in-depth Event and URL logs which I was very impressed with.

That wraps up my take on day three. I must admit the amount of walking was really starting to take its toll so I was starting to tire towards the end of the day, however, I have once again taken so much away from my seminars today as well as the labs I did. For more information on the day take a look at my twitter feed @shabazdarr and Concorde Technologies feed @concordeTG

Shabaz Darr

 

Author: Shabaz Darr, Senior Professional Services Consultant at Concorde Technology Group

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