Technology Overview Integrated Services in the Network Foundation Growing companies, especially those opening new offices, can take advantage of integrated foundation solutions that are secure, solid, and compatible with future technologies. Rather than purchasing separate products for individual functions, integrated services routers provide features and enable organizations to take advantage of additional technologies such as IP Communications, wireless, and advanced security systems while ensuring the Quality of Service their business and applications demand. "More and more features are making their way directly into routers and switches," says Robert Whiteley, associate analyst with Forrester Research. The systems-based approach has several goals: To transfer responsibility for security and reliability from individual computers and users to the network itself To create a network that adapts to changing needs To look at the network as an orderly, organized system rather than a collection of disparate, individually managed boxes Under this intelligent systems approach, the network moves from being a basic means of connectivity to an active, integrated part of your organization's business processes. A systems-based approach to routing and switching lets all workers—even those at different sites—have the same access to business applications, Internet Protocol (IP) Communications, and videoconferencing as their colleagues at headquarters. Networking solutions for satellite offices tend to be modular in nature, allowing you to install the features you need for a particular office. Modularity also enables you to upgrade equipment when needs change or an office expands. An added benefit of this systems-based approach is that technical staff at headquarters can centrally manage the network, which keeps staffing counts low while providing reliable service to employees in all locations. This holds true regardless of the size of company. A small company with two remote offices can benefit just as much as a company with hundreds of branch offices. "Security is definitely top-of-mind for a lot of IT executives, regardless of whether a company is large or small," Whiteley says. By installing a complete solution and managing it centrally, companies can protect valuable corporate data using multiple types of protection, such as encryption, firewall filtering, antivirus protection, and intrusion detection and prevention . "Enterprise-grade security features are being built into smaller switches" aimed at the SMB market, according to Whiteley. "A company's data is no less valuable because the company is small. Small businesses need to be just as aware of data security as very large companies," says Chad Reese, SMB Security Market Specialist at Cisco. A recent study by Infonetics revealed that enterprises are driven to invest in emerging router technology to increase security and decrease downtime. In addition, 77% of the enterprises surveyed already used some degree of integrated security. Users today require more integrated security services largely due to the influx of viruses, malicious code, and end users picking up infections on their laptops. Business Benefits The Value of Integrating Applications in the Network Businesses today demand more from their networks than ever before. Networks today now need to support all forms of media—including data, voice, and video—to enhance business communications and lower operating costs. Access has also changed, as thousands of new devices connect to the network via wireless and wired connections. To solve these pressing challenges, organizations need their networks to contain intelligence and play an active role in securely integrating applications in a way that is easy to manage. Intelligent networks integrate many advanced applications into an adaptable, pervasive, and collaborative system. Integrated Security: In today's environment , a mix of point-product solutions is no longer sufficient protection. Network security must be pervasive and integrated into the fabric of the network infrastructure itself. The network becomes the main point of control for preventing and responding to security threats from internal and external sources. An integrated strategy includes multiple types of protection and dramatically improves the ability of networks to identify, prevent, and adapt to security threats. Such systems help to ensure information privacy, protect against threats, and control access to corporate resources. IP Communications: Voice, video, and other types of data are woven into a converged network. IP Communications—which includes IP telephony as well as unified messaging and voicemail; customer contact applications; and audio, Web, and rich-media conferencing tools—demonstrates the power of an intelligent network. Tight integration into the infrastructure means that each new application—video, Web, or telephony—is just another media type rather than an entirely different communications system. The applications themselves can intelligently communicate with the infrastructure to meet the constantly changing needs of the system. Wireless: Wireless cannot be viewed as an isolated application, especially when wireless access points scale into the hundreds or thousands. An intelligent network provides the framework that enables a wireless LAN solution to take full advantage of existing tools, knowledge, and resources of the wired infrastructure to address critical wireless LAN security, deployment, and control issues. IP-based voice, wireless, and security are only the first in a new wave of advanced applications that are beginning to powerfully change the ways in which businesses operate. Organizations must consider how they can best enable their networks today so that their companies can continuously take advantage of new applications quickly, secure them easily, and manage them efficiently in pursuit of their business goals. Why Choose Cisco The Value of a Systems Approach A systems approach begins with a single, resilient platform such as the Cisco integrated services routers. A systems approach combines packaging with intelligent services within and between services, and weaves voice, security, routing, and application services together, so that processes become more automated and more intelligent. The results are pervasive security in the network and applications; higher QoS for data, voice, and video traffic; increased time to productivity; and better use of network resources. With the integrated services router, Cisco offers a comprehensive, future-proofed solution that minimizes network outages and ensures access to the most business-critical applications. Cisco's focus on integrating new infrastructure services with performance enables companies to create networks that are more intelligent, resilient, and reliable. For organizations of all sizes that need fast, secure access to today's mission-critical applications as well as a foundation for future growth, Cisco routers: Provide the industry's first portfolio engineered for secure, wire-speed delivery of concurrent data, voice, and video services Embed security and voice services into a single routing system Use an integrated systems approach to embedded services that speeds application deployment and reduces operating costs and complexity Provide unparalleled services performance and investment protection Unlike specialized niche products, Cisco Integrated Services Routers embed security and voice services as a single resilient system for ease of deployment, simplified management, and lower operating costs. Cisco routers provide the secure communications solutions you need today, while laying the foundation for tomorrow's Intelligent Information Networks. In addition, Cisco Integrated Services Routers: Provide fast, secure access to mission-critical business applications and unmatched investment protection for future growth, enabling organizations to easily deploy and manage converged communications solutions with end-to-end security for maximum end user productivity Feature industry-leading services densities, bandwidth, availability, and performance options for maximum configuration flexibility and scalability for the most demanding networking environments Provide a broad range of voice densities and services, allowing customers to easily enable end-to-end, best-in-class IP Communications solutions, while providing a foundation for future growth and investment protection Are the only routers that allow organizations to build a foundation for an intelligent, self-defending network, featuring best-in-class security services and routing technologies for the lowest total cost of ownership and highest return on investment.
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