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Cisco opens Umbrella, a cloud-based secure internet gateway

Cisco premieres a cloud-based secure internet gateway; Extreme Networks to provide wireless services to the World Series champion Chicago Cubs; mobile data traffic soars in 2016.

Cisco launched a cloud-based secure internet gateway to tackle cloud and mobile security risks. The offering, Cisco...

Umbrella, is tailored to provide safe internet access to users who don't use their corporate networks or VPNs to connect to remote data centers.

Cisco said Umbrella blocks malicious IP addresses, secures endpoints and combines 100 billion daily internet requests with 11 billion historical events to spot anomalies. Umbrella uses a combination of machine learning and Cisco's Talos threat intelligence and Advanced Malware Protection platform to block malicious URLs and files.

According to Cisco, 82% of mobile workers rarely use their VPNs, even as organizations attempt to protect themselves through VPN security. In other cases, enterprises rely on a variety of on-premises secure internet gateway options, but these tools can lead to complexity and poor latency. The growth in software-as-a-service application usage enables greater productivity, but means a larger population of workers lacks traditional network security coverage, leaving enterprises potentially vulnerable.

Cisco said the Umbrella secure internet gateway works with existing systems, including security appliances, intelligence platforms and custom tools. It also integrates with Cisco's wireless controllers to handle mobile traffic.

Cubs pick Extreme for Wi-Fi at Wrigley Field

The Chicago Cubs picked Extreme Networks to supply a high-density Wi-Fi system as part of the team's $750 million project to upgrade Wrigley Field.

In the first phase of the multiyear project, Extreme installed its analysis app to monitor wireless performance in the Cubs' newly remodeled 30,000-square-foot clubhouse that opened last year. Future plans call for Extreme to install a complete wireless system, encompassing controllers, more than 1,000 access points and associated performance analytics software, throughout Wrigley Field, as well as The Park, a 50,000-square-foot open-air entertainment venue being constructed adjacent to the stadium.

Cisco report shows soaring global mobile data traffic

Global mobile data traffic grew 63% in 2016, paced by the growth of users, more sophisticated mobile devices and internet-of-things gadgets. In its 11th annual Visual Networking Index, released earlier this month, Cisco said the annual amount of mobile traffic grew from 52.8 exabytes in 2015 to more than 86 exabytes last year.

Cisco said close to half a billion device connections, primarily smartphones, were added to networks in 2016, although much of the traffic -- up to 60% -- was offloaded onto fixed networks, such as Wi-Fi. Video represented the largest portion of mobile traffic.

By 2021, traffic is expected to ratchet up dramatically, growing seven times from 2016's levels, to 587 exabytes. Cisco predicted 11.6 billion mobile-connected devices by 2021, including IoT gadgets and machine-to-machine modules. The company also maintained that 5G will gain a toehold by 2021, representing 1.5% of total traffic. Service providers are now in the process of fine-tuning their 5G strategies.

Next Steps

Security and internet gateways

Extreme Networks targets the mid-enterprise market

Cisco VNI offers traffic predictions

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