Reduce costs and increase network awareness with proactive Cisco support

By: Biliana Bojilova

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If your organization depends on Cisco’s wide variety of collaboration, networking, security and software products, it certainly can’t afford any downtime when these devices malfunction, fail or — even worse — pose a security risk.

But if your organization is like many others, it probably doesn’t have a complete, clear view of the many Cisco devices in use and can’t begin to proactively mitigate potential exposures and prevent possible device downtime. Well, the device maintenance and management no longer have to be a guessing game. Proactive Cisco support identifies problems before they slow operations and jeopardize network security.

With pinpoint accuracy, IBM Technology Support Services for Cisco foresees issues, strengthens network security, enhances network stability and enables organizations to better manage the life cycle of their Cisco products. It’s the kind of valuable insight that’s commensurate with the investment made in the products themselves.

Proactive insurance reduces risk

Support Services is like having high-end car insurance. Rather than waiting for an accident to occur and then assessing and repairing damage, IBM identifies potential technological crashes before they happen. Support Services still provides IT maintenance when Cisco products need repair, but its overarching approach combines a traditional break-fix service with a proactive support model that’s grounded in new-school intelligence and analytics.

IBM Intelligent Networking Support (INS) for Cisco Networks is a service component integrated into the standard IBM Managed Maintenance Services (MMS) for Cisco offering. Essentially, INS acts as a discovery tool on a company’s network, collecting and correlating otherwise overlooked raw data and analyzing it against various data sources to assess all Cisco devices. INS reviews product lifecycle milestones, security exposure, code level of the devices and other important insights to create real-time actionable data on the status and maintenance levels of the devices.

This insight helps enterprises stay on top of the difficult task of inventory management. INS analysis shines a spotlight on devices that have slipped through the cracks in inventory, and it highlights which ones are covered on a Cisco maintenance plan and which ones are approaching the end of their coverage.

This thorough, up-to-date review saves companies a time-intensive and expensive alternative: finding out hundreds of devices which are not covered by maintenance contract when they desperately need to be fixed. With an accurate inventory and understanding of equipment, businesses can plan maintenance accordingly and not suffer any mass failures that hinder operations.

Security updates protect the network

Proactive Cisco support also provides critical insight on whether any Cisco products have security vulnerabilities that could harm the enterprise network. Thanks to our partnership with Cisco, IBM Technology Support Services for Networking and Security Capabilities can enact the latest security updates and patches.

With the latest data from Cisco knowledge sources, Support Services can immediately identify Cisco products that have field notice risks, hardware and software alerts, as well as critical security vulnerabilities. Enterprises no longer have to blindly hope their many devices are secure. They also won’t realize after the fact that the security posture of some, if not many, devices is outdated and putting the network at risk.

Vision to take action

With a full, real-time view of the entire inventory of Cisco products, your enterprise can appropriately budget the life cycle of these critical devices. You can plan hardware refresh far in advance, in sequence with support coverage renewals. By proactively identifying network exposure, you can address issues before they worsen and stop outages before they happen, keeping operations humming along and avoiding the many costs of downtime.

By replacing the manual processes of inventory and management with the automated intelligent processes of IBM Technology Support Services for Cisco, your enterprise will finally have a complete and accurate snapshot of your all-important network and Cisco devices.

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About The Author

Biliana Bojilova

Manager Business line, Technology Support Services, IBM Services

Biliana is a member of the IBM Global Alliance team in support of the networking platform and leads Intelligent Networking Support (INS) for Cisco products. Her global impact is achieved through innovation, mission accomplishment by fostering a positive work environment, and through mentoring and developing team members.