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ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

Welcome to the Cisco Networking Professionals Ask the Expert conversation for small and medium business. For a one-week period, small and medium business and technology leaders and Cisco engineers are available to continue discussing issues and ideas from scheduled live web broadcasts. This is an opportunity to discuss with expert Jimmy Ray Purser how to provide face-to-face, quality interaction in your company without leaving the office. Jimmy, a hands-on engineer with over 16 years of field experience, has planned and implemented WAN, LAN, WLAN solutions for organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, U.S. and NATO armed forces, organizations using Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, and Internet-based businesses. As a Cisco Techwise TV product expert, Purser specializes in foundational technologies such as wireless networking, routing, and switching. Purser holds two U.S. patents for Ethernet security algorithms and has two other patents pending. He is a Cisco Certified Network Professional, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, a Certified Novell Engineer, and an ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Remember to use the rating system to let Jimmy know if you have received an adequate response.

He might not be able to answer each question due to the volume expected during this event. Our moderators will post many of the unanswered questions in other discussion forums shortly after the event. This event lasts through October 25, 2006. Visit this forum often to view responses to your questions and the questions of other community members.

9 REPLIES
New Member

Re: ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

We are a small company that does not have a whole lot of capital to spend right now. We are trying to save money with a telecommuting solution. How much training does my IT staff need to support a telecommuting solution? Our concern is we will be training someone and what if they will leave the company and we need to train a new person again? Right now, we just can not afford that.

Bill

Bronze

Re: ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

That is an excellent point Bill and a hard answer to give. There is always the fear of seeing your limited budget walk out the door when an employee leaves. First off, they training a IT staff members needs is how to manage, troubleshoot and upgrade your VPN gear. Normally this would be a class like Cisco's; Secure VPN class (CSVPN). Even if the employee leaves with 4-6 months after the training (hopefully not) the money you have saved on a outside counsaltant will have more then paid for the class. As an I professional myself, I have always felt loyal to companies that have invested in my career in IT. Jumping ship after training is just not something I see happen that often. Folks still not the experance to go along with the training. It has been said that experance is something you get right after you need it most. I would invest in the employee and you will be rewarded big time.

New Member

Re: ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

Bill,

The amount of training needed really depends on what technology you choose as part of your telework solution. While some companies choose to handle all the IT pieces in-house many others use subscription services and solutions that can be implemented without as much IT help.

The choices you make will dictate how much training your IT staff needs. You might also consider supplementing your current IT staff with some outsources consultants that specialize in the telework solutions you require.

All the best,

Phil

Silver

Re: ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

I am having a difficult time understanding just how a telecommuting solution works at home and provide security for our network. When this is explained to me, I get lost in the blur IT acronyms. I would like to have a

simple "elevator pitch" on why and how this works and is secured. Because it sure does not seem to be, however, seems like everyone is using this, so I must be missing something.

Thanks Amrit

Bronze

Re: ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

Ah yes... the freedom of working at home...no more long commutes, screaming disk jockeys or or brushing your teeth.. oh wait a minute..TMI...

Telecommuting over a secure connection can be tough to understand. It works like this, take a letter the you have wrote. Sign it, date it, whatever. Now, if I need to mail that I put it in a evelope and send it off to someplace, like the Star Trek Fan club. Niether one is secure right? Someone can steal the letter at any point, open and read how much like "The City on the Edge of Tomorrow"

What if I took that same letter and ripped it up 1024 times then put it in a evelope and sent it off as registered mail. Now when it arrives at the other end, only receiver can sign for it and knows how to put that puzzle back together.

This is how VPNs work. They take your data and turn it into a bunch of jumbled numbers and letters. Then they put it in a packet and send that data to the source where it is decoded and read. Only folks with my VPN client and keys can attach to my network. (like a registered receiver of US Mail) Since computers are so darn fast, they can decode and encode this data very quickly. If the data is illegally grabbed off the wire at any point or part by someone who does not have a key to read the letter, it just looks like grabbled data.

And thats it!

Bronze

Re: ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

We are small company with one person running our IT department. Remote Access would be a great option to have for our staff. I am concerned that while the idea is great the cost is too prohibitive. Instead of having a

capital outlay for all of the equipment, staff training and system maintenance, Should we be looking more at a managed VPN service instead of a an in-house one? This seems like a great way to have our cake and eat it too.

Thanks -

New Member

Re: ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

Beth,

I think you are right on target. One of the true benefits of all the managed VPN services as well as other virtual office hosted solutions is that companies can easily start taking advantage of these technologies while eliminating the cost of entry and outsourcing their IT needs. It allows for tremendous flexibility in how you scale your technology expense as your organization grows or shrinks.

This strategy also provides you with a niche service provider that specializes in the technology you need and ensures you always have the latest technology for your solution.

Phil

Silver

Re: ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

We spent quite a bit of money on a content filter for our business. It has really saved us a lot of money and cut back on spam and various phishing scams. Telecommuting will also be a real boon for our business, however, we are avoiding it because we must have the web content filtered. Are

telecommuters still filtered or do I need to look at another solution?

Bronze

Re: ASK THE EXPERT- HOW TO MOBILIZE YOUR WORKFORCE

Great question!!

Content filtering is really the stuff for preserving WAN bandwidth. First off, to answer your question, yes your remote users are still filtered thru your content filter as long as they are VPN'ed into your network. After they disconnect, it's off to the wild wild web.

This is where host based (client Macs/PCs) protection comes to play. Make sure that your telecommuters have anti-virus software installed that auto updates its signatures, spam filters on email, host based firewall and of course spayware detectors. Ensure that this is installed under an Adminstrator or Root account so your users can not remove or disable it. Also, include a statement to that effect in your end user telecommuting agreement.

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