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CICSP Cisco IronPort Certified Security Professional

Exam Detail:
The CICSP (Cisco IronPort Certified Security Professional) certification exam, with the exam code 1159, is designed to validate the knowledge and skills of individuals in implementing and managing Cisco IronPort security solutions. Here is a detailed overview of the exam, including the number of questions and time, course outline, exam objectives, and exam syllabus.

Number of Questions and Time:
The exact number of questions in the CICSP exam may vary, but it typically consists of approximately 55 to 65 multiple-choice questions. The duration of the exam is usually around 90 minutes.

Course Outline:
The CICSP certification course covers a comprehensive range of topics related to implementing and managing Cisco IronPort security solutions. The specific course outline may include the following components:

1. Cisco Email Security Appliance (ESA):
- Overview of Cisco ESA features and architecture
- Configuration and management of Cisco ESA
- Email filtering and policy implementation
- Encryption and data loss prevention (DLP)
- Integration with other security solutions

2. Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA):
- Introduction to Cisco WSA and its capabilities
- Configuration and management of Cisco WSA
- Web traffic filtering and malware protection
- URL filtering and reputation-based security
- Integration with other security solutions

3. Cisco Content Security Management Appliance (SMA):
- Overview of Cisco SMA features and functionality
- Configuration and management of Cisco SMA
- Policy creation and enforcement
- Reporting and troubleshooting
- Integration with other security solutions

4. Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) with Cisco IronPort:
- Introduction to ATP and its components
- Configuration and management of ATP features
- Malware detection and remediation
- Threat intelligence and analysis
- Integration with other security solutions

Exam Objectives:
The objectives of the CICSP certification exam are to assess the candidate's knowledge and skills in implementing and managing Cisco IronPort security solutions. The specific objectives include:

- Understanding the features and capabilities of Cisco ESA, WSA, and SMA.
- Demonstrating proficiency in configuring and managing Cisco IronPort appliances.
- Implementing effective email and web traffic filtering policies.
- Utilizing encryption and data loss prevention (DLP) mechanisms.
- Analyzing and responding to advanced threats using Cisco ATP.

Exam Syllabus:
The 1159 CICSP exam syllabus outlines the specific topics and subtopics that will be covered in the exam. The syllabus may include:

- Cisco Email Security Appliance (ESA) features and configuration
- Cisco Web Security Appliance (WSA) features and configuration
- Cisco Content Security Management Appliance (SMA) features and configuration
- Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) features and configuration
- Integration of Cisco IronPort appliances with other security solutions
Cisco IronPort Certified Security Professional
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Cisco IronPort Certified Security Professional
Question: 57
Which remark about the SSeries native FTP proxy is NOT true?
A. Access policies may apply to native FTP traffic
B. Data Loss Prevention policies may apply to native FTP traffic
C. Authentication is supported in transparent mode D. Both active and passive mode FTP is
supported E. By default, the FTP proxy uses port 8021
Answer: C
Question: 58
The appearance of the string BLOCK_WBRS in the access log means
A. The proxy blocked access to a site because of a suspicious server response.
B. The proxy blocked access to a site with low reputation score.
C. Your appliance or the WBRS key is out of support.
D. The proxy blocked an outbound request because the client is infected with malware.
Answer: B
Question: 59
Which of the following statements about the DVS engine is true?
A. The DVS engine generates the WBRS.
B. The DVS engine is only used for L4 Traffic Monitoring.
C. The DVS engine can use Webroot and McAfee scanning in parallel.
Answer: C
Question: 60
Which of the following is true about Outbound Malware Scanning?
A. It has its own policy table.
B. It is configured as part of IronPort Data Security.
C. It is configured as part of Access Policies.
D. It only has global configuration
Answer: C
Question: 61
In the Setup Wizard, the default action taken when Malware is detected is _______.
Answer: monitor
Question: 62
In access policies, object blocking is based only on MIME type.
A. True
B. False
Answer: B
Question: 63
A single transaction can be scanned by Webroot, Sophos and McAfee in parallel.
A. True
B. False
Answer: A
Question: 64
Which statement is true about WSA user authentication?
A. WSA supports LDAP, but not NTLM.
B. A single WSA can have multiple LDAP realms.
C. WSA supports NTLM, but not LDAP.
D. A single WSA can have up to two authentication realms: one for LDAP and one for NTLM.
Answer: B
Question: 65
In the Setup Wizard, the default action to take when L4TM detects phone-home activity is
Answer: block
Question: 66
Which of the following is NOT provided by AVC?
A. Deep IM control
B. Safe Search
C. Media bandwidth control
D. Web usage quotas
Answer: D
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Earning specialized certifications is a surefire way to advance your career in the IT field, regardless of industry or current career level. The right certification validates your skills and knowledge, which makes you more desirable to future employers who want to attract and retain the best employees. Below, we’ll explore the top IT certifications and share how to examine your goals to choose the right path forward. 

We’ve narrowed IT certifications into specific categories to help IT professionals assess what’s available and pursue the best certifications to show their willingness to learn and develop the in-demand career skills employers want.

Best database certifications 

Database platforms have changed greatly over the years, but database technology remains important for various applications and computing tasks. Available certifications for IT professionals include those for database administrators (DBAs), database developers, data analysts and architects, business intelligence, and data warehousing specialists, and other data professionals.

Obtaining database certifications demonstrates an understanding of database concepts, design, implementation, administration and security. This can boost your credibility in the job market and show potential employers that you have the skills needed to work with databases. The best database certifications include the following:

Best SAS certifications 

SAS is one of the world’s leading firms for business analytics, data warehousing and data mining. Today, the SAS Global Certification Program offers 23 credentials across categories including foundation tools, advanced analytics, business intelligence, data management and administration.

SAS programmers remain in high demand, with a quick search of job boards showing thousands of open positions. Obtaining SAS certification shows employers that you are proficient in the company’s popular suite of tools. Some of SAS’s certification programs include the following: 

Many professionals earn certifications to help navigate their career paths. According to the IT Salary Report, 92 percent of information technology professionals have at least one certification.

Best Cisco certifications 

Cisco Systems is a market leader not only in networking and communications products, but also storage networking and solutions for data centers. Cisco offers a variety of certifications for IT professionals, ranging from entry level credentials to expert-level exams. 

These certifications prepare professionals for Cisco-related careers. A search of job boards reveals thousands of open positions for Cisco experts, underscoring the continued relevance of these skills. Some of Cisco’s certifications include the following:

Best Dell certifications 

Dell Technologies remains one of the world’s leading computing companies. In addition to its well-known hardware lineup, Dell also offers solutions for networks, storage, servers, gateways and embedded computing, as well as a broad range of IT and business services.

Becoming certified in Dell products can help make IT professionals competitive in engineering roles for server, virtualization, networking, systems, integration and data security. Additional roles include consultants, account executives, system administrators, IT managers and deployment managers.

Best mobility certifications 

In the mobile era, it has become increasingly important for network engineers to support local, remote and mobile users, as well as provide proper infrastructure. The focus on application and app development now leans more toward mobile environments, requiring security professionals to thoroughly address mobility from all perspectives.

Due to the fast-changing nature of mobile technology, not many mobility certifications have become widely adopted. However, a few of the top mobility certifications can help IT professionals stand out in this rapidly evolving field. 

If part of your job includes selling and implementing an IT solution, you may want to pursue the best sales certifications. You’ll show your organization that you’re willing to go above and beyond to reach sales targets.

Best computer hardware certifications 

As remote and computer-based work has become more common, it’s more important than ever that businesses and individuals be able to maintain their hardware. While discussions about potential computer-related jobs often revolve around software work and coding, jumping into the IT field by becoming a computer technician is an excellent starting point.

Today, thousands of hardware technician jobs are available across the country. Entering this industry becomes more accessible for those who acquire computer hardware certifications. These certifications can showcase your expertise and proficiency in the upkeep of computers, mobile devices, printers and other hardware components.

Best Google Cloud certifications 

IT pros with solid cloud computing skills continue to be in high demand as more companies adopt cloud technologies. Today, Google Cloud is one of the market leaders in the cloud computing space. 

Regardless of where you are in your IT career, engaging with certification programs can demonstrate your willingness to keep on top of rapidly evolving cloud technologies. To that end, Google has introduced a host of certifications for its cloud platform, including the following: 

Best evergreen IT certifications

In the fast-changing world of technology, it can help to focus on certifications that have stood the test of time. “Evergreen” refers to certifications that remain popular year after year. 

The top evergreen certifications are based on recent pay surveys in IT, reports from IT professionals about certifications they want or pursue the most, and those that appear most frequently in online job postings. Obtaining these credentials is one step toward ensuring that your skills remain relevant for a long time: 

Best IT governance certifications 

IT governance provides structure for aligning a company’s IT with its business strategies. Organizations faced with compliance rigors always need experienced IT pros who can see the big picture and understand technology risks. This means certified IT governance professionals are likely to remain in high demand.

Earning one of the following certifications proves a commitment to understanding the role of IT governance and its position in a company’s current and future success. Getting certified can validate your expert knowledge and lead to advanced career opportunities.

Best system administrator certifications 

An IT system administrator is responsible for managing and maintaining the information technology infrastructure within an organization. The position demands sought-after career skills, ranging from configuring and maintaining servers and clients to managing access controls, network services, and addressing application resource requirements.

If you’re in charge of managing modern servers, there’s a long list of tools and technologies that system administrators must master. Obtaining some of the most prominent system administrator certifications can demonstrate your mastery to potential employers. 

Best ITIL certifications 

ITIL, or Information Technology Infrastructure Library, was developed to establish standardized best practices for IT services within government agencies. Over the ensuing four decades, businesses of all types embraced, modified, and extended ITIL, shaping it into a comprehensive framework for managing IT service delivery. 

The ITIL framework remains the benchmark for best practices in IT service and delivery management, offering certification programs that cater to IT professionals at all levels. These training and certification courses ensure that IT professionals stay well-prepared for the ongoing evolution in IT service delivery management. There are four certifications in the ITIL certification program:

Best enterprise architect certifications 

An IT enterprise architect is responsible for designing and managing the overall structure and framework of an organization’s information technology system. Enterprise architect certifications are among the highest that an IT professional can achieve; fewer than 1 percent ultimately reach this level. 

Enterprise architects are among the highest-paid employees and consultants in the tech industry. These certifications can put IT professionals on a path to many lucrative positions. The average worker earns over six figures annually. Some top enterprise architect certifications are listed below:

To become an enterprise IT architect, you’ll need knowledge of systems deployment, design and architecture, as well as a strong business foundation.

Best CompTIA certifications

CompTIA is a nonprofit trade association made up of more than 2,000 member organizations and 3,000 business partners. The organization’s vendor-neutral certification program is one of the best recognized in the IT industry. Since CompTIA developed its A+ credential in 1993, it has issued more than two million certifications.

CompTIA certifications are grouped by skill set and focus on the real-world skills IT professionals need. Armed with these credentials, you can demonstrate that you know how to manage and support IT infrastructure. 

Best Oracle certifications 

A longtime leader in database software, Oracle also offers cloud solutions, servers, engineered systems, storage, and more. The company has more than 430,000 customers in 175 countries. 

Today, Oracle’s training program offers six certification levels that span 16 product categories with more than 200 individual credentials. Considering the depth and breadth of this program — and the number of Oracle customers — it’s no surprise that Oracle certifications are highly sought after. 

Vendor-specific certifications address a particular vendor’s hardware and software. For example, you can pursue Oracle certifications and Dell certifications to become an expert in those companies’ environments.

Best business continuity and disaster recovery certifications

Business continuity and disaster recovery keep systems running and data available in the event of interruptions or faults. These programs bring systems back to normal operation after a disaster has occurred.

Business continuity and disaster recovery certifications are seeing a healthy uptrend as new cloud-based tools grow in popularity. While business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning have always been essential, they’re becoming more critical than ever — and IT certifications are following suit.

Tue, 02 Jan 2024 09:59:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10953-best-it-certifications.html
7 New Cloud Professional Services Options For Cisco Partners

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Cisco Systems is giving partners a road map of how to create cloud professional service practices to deliver hybrid IT by launching seven new cloud services available to certified partners.

Cisco Cloud Reseller partners who want to thrive in the hybrid IT era and capture the fast-growing $20 billion professional services opportunity can sell offerings from a new library of cloud professional services assembled by Cisco in conjunction with the Cisco Advanced services team and incorporating best practices from Cisco channel partners.

"We know that for partners to be successful they need to add more of their own value. The only way they can add more of their own value, especially as hardware revenues are being extended over longer periods of time [as part of a recurring revenue model], is to add more professional services. For the first time, we're actually now packaging up professional services to enable our partners to deliver them," said Edison Peres, senior vice president of the cloud and managed services partner organization at Cisco, at the 2015 Cisco Partner Summit Wednesday.

Here's a look at the new options.

Cloud Consumption As-A-Service

Arguably the flagship service offering of the group, according to several Cisco partners, the Cloud Consumption as-a-Service offering aims to drive recurring revenue and profitability for the channel.

"Cloud consumption is something I think the whole industry is getting around," said Robert Keblusek, senior vice president of business development at Sentinel Technologies, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based Cisco partner.

Cisco said the service deploys probes on a network and identifies existing cloud consumption in the customer's environment -- usually five times to 10 times more cloud usage than the enterprise expects -- providing the foundation for the development of a cloud strategy that partners can implement for the customer.

"This is designed specifically for the channel and it's software only," said Nick Earle, Cisco's senior vice president of global cloud and managed services sales. "This is software aimed for channel partners that can produce results in two weeks."

Cloud Threat Defense Service

Cisco is introducing a cloud security service model that includes cloud mapping, vulnerability and risk assessment, forensics and reporting, according to the company. Components included in the offering are intrusion prevention, antivirus, content security, firewall, forensics and ecosystem tools.

"All of our customers are looking for new and better ways to secure their environments so the threat defense service is certainly attractive to us," said Dave Hart, COO of New York-based solution provider Presidio, a Cisco Gold partner. "If hybrid cloud is the future, then the network is the most important thing because that's the unifying platform. ... This security service will help that."

UCS Director FastStart

Cisco's wildly popular Unified Computing System has just become even easier for partners to implement, Cisco said. The UCS Director FastStart offering sets the stage for partners to deliver services to orchestrate and automate the operations of the converged infrastructure resources on which many clouds are built, according to Cisco.

"To us this is terrific because it helps us really help our customers get a lot of value out of that UCS Director platform," said Presidio's Hart.

"What that is doing for us is providing increased automation in our UCS compute environment, particularly in maintenance activities as well as when we do hardware upgrades and/or replacements for new blades," said Jeffrey Spalding, COO of Peak 10, a Charlotte, N.C.-based Cisco partner.

Energy Management Discovery Service

This new service helps identify the customer's energy usage and provides benchmarks for their cloud and IT assets, according to Cisco.

Cisco said partners can wrap their own professional services around this offering to perform an assessment of the customer's environment and create a plan to better manage their customers' energy consumption all through the cloud.

Cisco executives said energy management services will be a big growth area for Cisco partners because they typically don't require additional budget -- the projects save enough in energy costs to be self-funding.

Intercloud Marketplace

Although formally launched in June, Cisco said the Intercloud Marketplace is going to play a much larger role for partners who want to buy and sell cloud services.

Cisco's Earle said the marketplace is a partner-centric global storefront for application consumption that customers can only access through a partner portal.

"It's a one-stop shop for all the applications and services that run across all the partners' clouds that are part of Intercloud," said Earle. "We're committed to supporting the partner community."

"It brings enterprises and service providers as well as resellers, the VAR channel, together," said Peak 10's Spalding. "It's important from our perspective because we want there to be as much clarity in the marketplace as possible. ... They have the opportunity to go through this marketplace to other Cisco service providers like Peak 10 and find solutions via this marketplace."

Cloud On-Boarding Solution

The cloud on-boarding solution enables migration of workloads seamlessly and securely, said Cisco. The new service will help partners perform workload on-boarding by utilizing a combination of Cisco IP and third party tools and resources. Cisco points to the ability to move workloads from one cloud to another, be they public or private, as one of the marquee capabilities of its Intercloud offering.

Intercloud Fabric For Business FastStart

Cisco's Intercloud Fabric is software for moving workloads between different public and private clouds on a secure, efficient platform in hybrid cloud. Partners can now easily build on the Intercloud Fabric platform to deliver vital follow-on cloud migration, adoption and optimization services through the FastStart offering, said Cisco.

ServiceGrid Professional Services

In March 2013, Cisco said it planned to purchase the privately held company SolveDirect, which focuses on cloud-delivered services management software and services. CRN reported that the company's ServiceGrid platform was designed to provide a "single point of collaboration," integrating business processes and provide service-level monitoring across multiple partners, regardless of their existing systems.

Cisco said in a multivendor cloud services environment, partners can help automate and create service-level agreement governance models to optimize customers cloud and IT support processes through this new service offering.

Thu, 30 Apr 2015 01:49:00 -0500 text/html https://www.crn.com/slide-shows/cloud/300076677/7-new-cloud-professional-services-options-for-cisco-partners
6 New Cisco Cloud Services For Channel Partners To Sell

Cloud-Enabling Cisco Services

Cisco launched a slew of professional services Tuesday that partners can either resell, white label, co-deliver or co-develop alongside Cisco.

"Ultimately, we're giving you the secret sauce," said Fabio Gori, senior director and head of Cisco Cloud Marketing, in an interview with CRN. "These three different environments, which are your existing data center, cloud-native environment and private cloud, need to be wrapped around a very consistent analytics, security and orchestration layer – that's what we're executing upon. It's pulling together these three environments to give customers what they want, which is hybrid IT, and doing it together with our partners."

Here are six new cloud-enabling solutions that Cisco channel partners can take to market.

Cloud Acceleration Services

The new Cloud Acceleration service from Cisco accelerates the design and deployment of both traditional private clouds and cloud-native solutions such as OpenStack and Platform-as-a-Service, according to Paul Hamilton, director of Cisco Advanced Services.

"The services address the potential skills and process gaps within our customers and some of our partner community," said Hamilton in an interview with CRN. "Firstly, to help with simplified pre-validated solutions around Infrastructure-as-a-Service private cloud – both Cisco-managed through our MetaCloud offering but also partner-managed from our Quickstart Private Cloud environment and extending into cloud-native environments and services around OpenStack and PaaS."

Hamilton said OpenStack is important for cloud-native environments to allow IaaS to be integrated with a customer's deployment of OpenStack into their existing services.

D evOps Services

New IT transformation Cisco services for DevOps is focused on DevOps-related change management initiatives in order to help align business processes and capabilities to enable customers to optimize across traditional and DevOps environments and teams.

"[These services are] really considering the people, process and tools aspects of bringing together IT operations and applications development teams and the governance and management of those environments to manage the complexity of applications development in a new world," said Hamilton.

Muticloud Management Services

The new multicloud management and orchestration services for Cisco Cloud Center empowers customers to model, deploy and manage anywhere, said Hamilton.

"This is really aligned to develop the tools and solutions to better enable our customers and partners to operate multicloud, hybrid-IT environments," said Hamilton. "Our CliQr acquisition really helps customers profile their application environment, understand the application architecture, then to be able to deploy and manage those applications [regardless] of the cloud infrastructure they're deployed in. Our Cloud Center natively supports every private and public cloud that's in existence today."

Enhanced Migration Services

The networking giant unveiled enhanced application and cloud migration services to automate and de-risk the complexity involved in on-boarding and migrating applications and workloads to the cloud.

"These are automated mass-migration capabilities for cloud and application migration services to really enable customers to transition their application workloads faster, cheaper and at lower risk to whichever cloud platform they choose to evolve towards," said Hamilton.

Cisco Study And Business Cloud Advisor 2.0

The new Cisco professional service offerings were rolled out in conjunction with a Cisco-sponsored study with IDC based on research conducted with executives responsible for IT decisions in more than 6,100 organizations across 31 countries that are implementing private, public and hybrid clouds in their IT environments. According to the study, nearly 68 percent of organizations are using cloud to help drive business outcomes. However, nearly 70 percent of organizations do not have a mature cloud strategy, while only 3 percent have optimized cloud strategies generating superior business outcomes.

Cisco revealed an enhanced version of the company's popular Cisco Business Cloud Advisor (BCA) tool, which includes new data from this study. The BCA allows partners to assess a customer through a survey to determine an organization's cloud adoption level and associated business benefits in moving to the cloud relative to their industry peers by industry, company size and geography.

New Workshops For Partners

Cisco will offer an integrated strategy workshop combining the Cisco Domain Ten Framework with BCA. The workshop will help organizations identify cloud adoption gaps and benchmarks, continuously improve their multicloud environments and facilitate alignment between IT and line-of-business executives.

Hamilton said the workshop, becoming available sometime during the fourth quarter calendar year, will also help organizations better measure the potential impact of cloud adoption in their IT organizations across a broad range of key performance indicators.

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0500 text/html https://www.crn.com/slide-shows/cloud/300082141/6-new-cisco-cloud-services-for-channel-partners-to-sell
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Tue, 26 Dec 2023 00:09:00 -0600 en-us text/html https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/offer/deals/prep-for-cisco-ccna-and-ccnp-certifications-with-this-35-bundle-deal/
10 Best Value Stocks For 2024

Value stocks are company shares that appear to be undervalued by the market. Generally, these stocks represent financially stable companies that grow their sales and earnings slowly and steadily.

Granted, slow-and-steady growth is less exciting than sudden and steep price gains. But therein lies the value. Less exciting stocks can be easily overlooked by investors, which keeps their prices low.

Finding these low-priced picks sounds like bargain hunting for stocks, right? Read on to learn more about value investing and meet 10 promising stocks that may suit your portfolio.

Why Value Stocks?

The big advantage of value stock investing is a higher level of safety. When you buy a low-priced stock, you’re spending less on future profits and the stock has less room to fall. Plus, if the business is solid, big price declines often don’t linger—because lower prices attract more investors.

Value stocks also have relatively low volatility. These are stocks investors buy and hold for the long term. As such, they’re less reactive than their growth-oriented peers, which can be currency for swing and day traders.

And finally, top value stocks prioritize shareholder returns in their capital allocation strategies. They use share buybacks and dividends alongside growth initiatives to reward their investors in the near and long term.

The relative safety of value stocks plus their dividend income potential makes them popular within retirement investing strategies.

The Downsides Of Value Investing

The main downside to value stock investing is an uncertain timeline. It can take years for investors to realize a stock’s intrinsic value. Fortunately, assuming you have a long timeline, you can collect dividend income while you wait.

Another risk is failing to differentiate good, low-priced stocks from stocks that are cheap for a reason. The latter is known as a value trap. Future growth potential is the main factor that separates top value stocks from lackluster ones.

Methodology For These Value Stock Picks

The stocks shared below have reasonable valuations, low debt, recent revenue growth with the expectation for more, plus good dividend yields. The specific thresholds are:

  • Price/earnings (P/E) ratio between 10 and 20
  • Debt-to-equity ratio below 0.55
  • Revenue growth over the past 12 months
  • Positive growth outlook
  • Average trading volume of 250,000 or more
  • Dividend yield above 1%

The goal of these qualifications is to identify good, growing businesses with healthy balance sheets, enduring investor interest and enough cash production to fund a reliable dividend.

About price-to-book (P/B) ratio

The P/B ratio is another metric that's popular with value investors. The ratio represents the relationship between the stock price and the company's net asset value per share. A P/B of less than 1 shows the stock is priced below the value on its balance sheet.

Unfortunately, there are some issues with limiting your value stock prospects to P/B ratios of 1 or less. First, only about 14% of U.S. stocks meet this parameter according to TradingView's stock screener. Secondly, the ratio is based on balance sheet numbers which, due to accounting rules, may not reflect value accurately. And finally, an ultra-low P/B ratio could simply indicate serious underlying problems with the business that are keeping investors away.

For those reasons, the value picks below have more generous P/B ratios. They fall between 1 and 4.7.

The brain trust at Forbes has run the numbers, conducted the research, and done the analysis to come up with some of the best places for you to make money in 2024. Download one of Forbes' most popular and widely anticipated reports, 12 Best Stocks To Buy for 2024.

The 10 Best Value Stocks For 2024

The table below introduces 10 stocks that look to be solid value plays for 2024 and beyond. They're ordered from largest to smallest, by market value.

1. Cisco (CSCO)

  • Industry: Software and communications
  • Market cap: $204.1 billion
  • Stock price: $50.22
  • Forward dividend yield: 3.1%
  • P/E ratio: 15.16

Cisco Overview

Cisco makes and sells IP-based networking equipment and related products and services. Customers include global manufacturers, wholesalers and consumers.

Why CSCO Is A Top Pick

Cisco has scale, market leadership and a low valuation on its side. The company had a tough 2022 but has rebounded well in 2023. Revenue growth is expected to slow next year to the low single-digits. But, growing margins and share buybacks should support further EPS growth.

In fiscal year 2023, Cisco repurchased $4.2 billion of its common stock. As of fiscal year-end on July 29, 2023, there was $10.6 billion remaining on Cisco’s share repurchase authorization.

2. CRH Plc (CRH)

  • Industry: Building materials
  • Market cap: $46.6 billion
  • Stock price: $67.08
  • Forward dividend yield: 2.4%
  • P/E ratio: 17.73

CRH Overview

CRH makes and distributes building materials, including cement, lime, aggregate and asphalt products. The company is headquartered in Ireland but generates 75% of its Ebitda in the U.S.

Why CRH Is A Top Pick

CRH has beaten analysts’ revenue and EPS estimates for five quarters straight. The company’s growth is fueled by strong demand for its products plus a proven acquisition strategy and a disciplined leadership team. An ample Ebitda margin of 18.1% provides plenty of cash for growth and shareholder programs.

In its most recent earnings release, CRH announced a second interim dividend payment of $1.08 that increased the annual payout by 5%. CRH has also repurchased about $6 billion of its stock since May 2018.

CRH recently entered into an agreement with Barro Group to acquire Adbri Ltd., a large building materials business in Australia. That transaction, if completed, will create an added growth opportunity for CRH.

3. Hartford Financial Services (HIG)

  • Industry: Insurance
  • Market cap: 24.3 billion
  • Stock price: $80.74
  • Forward dividend yield: 2.3%
  • P/E ratio: 11.11

Hartford Financial Overview

Hartford sells insurance and related financial services to individuals and businesses in the U.S. and abroad.

Why HIG Is A Top Pick

HIG has been producing impressive revenue and earnings gains recently. Third-quarter 2023 net income grew 93% to $645 million from $334 million in the prior-year period. And, looking back further, HIG has beaten analysts’ EPS expectations by double digits in four of the past six quarters.

The company also raised its dividend by 11% and spent $350 million in share repurchases in its most recent quarter. In the earnings release, CEO Christopher Swift said Hartford would consistently deliver core earnings ROEs of 14% to 15%.

4. Amdocs (DOX)

  • Industry: Software
  • Market cap: $10.2 billion
  • Stock price: $87.38
  • Forward dividend yield: 2.0%
  • P/E ratio: 19.47

Amdocs Overview

Amdocs provides customer service and billing software plus related services to customers in the communications, media and entertainment, cable and satellite industries. Most of the company’s revenue comes from the U.S. though it does operate internationally.

Why DOX Is A Top Pick

Amdocs has a leading market share in telecom IT apps. The company is also very competitive in IT consulting and cloud professional services, according to a report by tech researcher Omdia.

DOX also has a growing 12-month backlog and two new acquisitions in the fold. Based on recent performance and market conditions, the company expects to grow its adjusted diluted EPS by 8% to 12% in fiscal year 2024.

In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023, DOX repurchased $155 million of ordinary shares. The company also raised its quarterly dividend by 10% in November.

5. Gentex (GNTX)

  • Industry: Auto parts
  • Market cap: $7.5 billion
  • Stock price: $32.64
  • Forward dividend yield: 1.5%
  • P/E ratio: 19.2

Gentex Overview

Gentex designs and sells dimmable glass for use in cars and aircraft. The company also makes fire protection products including photoelectric smoke detectors and alarms. Customers include automotive OEMs, automotive aftermarket suppliers and fire protection product distributors and wholesalers.

Why GNTX Is A Top Pick

According to Forbes writer David Trainer, Gentex owns more than 90% of the market for auto-dimmable rearview mirrors. That market share dominance protects revenues in the immediate term.

Looking ahead, Gentex has also been making substantial investments in R&D. Those investments have been a drag on margins, but they're laying the foundation for new launches and an improved product mix going forward.

GNTX has beaten analysts’ revenue and EPS estimates for three quarters running. The company also delivered 45% period-over-period EPS growth in the third quarter of 2023. Even so, investors have been tentative. Gentex’s P/E ratio of 19.2 is lower than it’s been since 2019.

The brain trust at Forbes has run the numbers, conducted the research, and done the analysis to come up with some of the best places for you to make money in 2024. Download one of Forbes' most popular and widely anticipated reports, 12 Best Stocks To Buy for 2024.

6. Stifel Financial (SF)

  • Industry: Financial services
  • Market cap: $6.9 billion
  • Stock price: $68.21
  • Forward dividend yield: 2.1%
  • P/E ratio: 15.75

Stifel Overview

Stifel provides wealth management and investment banking services to investors, institutions and corporations in the U.S., Europe and Canada.

Why SF Is A Top Pick

Stifel’s EPS results in 2023 have been down from the prior year, which is obviously not what investors want to see. The company has been struggling with challenging conditions in the advisory side of its business. The third quarter was also hit with a one-time $0.58 per share legal accrual.

Still, there are reasons to be optimistic. The investment banking environment has been tough for two years, but the economic conditions in play may ease in 2024. Should the number of middle market capital raises increase, Stifel will benefit thanks to its strong market share and reputation. In the meantime, Stifel is seeing revenue growth in its global wealth management business. Advisor recruitment is driving growth in client assets and asset management revenues. That positions SF to emerge stronger as market conditions improve.

7. Noble PLC (NE)

  • Industry: Oil and gas drilling
  • Market cap: $6.5 billion
  • Stock price: $46.75
  • Forward dividend yield: 3.4%
  • P/E ratio: 14.62

Noble Overview

Noble is a leading offshore oil and gas drilling contractor with a modern fleet of drill ships, semisubmersibles and jackup rigs deployed around the world.

Why NE Is A Top Pick

NE is a dominant player in offshore drilling. The company has pricing power, a $4.7 billion backlog and a healthy balance sheet working in its favor. Add in growing demand for NE’s services and the future looks bright for Noble and its shareholders.

On the strength of higher dayrates, Noble reported a 41% adjusted Ebitda margin for its third quarter of 2023. The strong cash performance allowed for a 33% dividend increase to $0.40 per share. The company also raised its guidance. The lower end of NE’s 2023 revenue guidance range went up by $150 million. The lower end of the adjusted Ebitda guidance range increased by $50 million.

8. Home Bancshares (HOMB)

  • Industry: Regional baking
  • Market cap: $5.1 billion
  • Stock price: $25.77
  • Forward dividend yield: 2.8%
  • P/E ratio: 12.25

Home Bancshares Overview

Home Bancshares operates Centennial Bank, which has branches in Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, New York and Florida. Centennial offers lending and deposit services to business, municipalities and individuals.

Why HOMB Is A Top Pick

HOMB has built a large Centennial Bank footprint through acquisitions, while maintaining a conservative underwriting practice and healthy balance sheet.

The company has also consistently delivered a strong net interest margin (NIM)—a key indicator of profitability for banks. For the last four quarters, Home Bancshares’ NIM has been above 4%. Over the same timeframe, the average NIM for all U.S. banks has ranged from 2.53% to 3.03%.

HOMB has also increased its dividend annually for the last 13 years, with annualized growth over the past three years of nearly 9%.

9. Federated Hermes (FHI)

  • Industry: Asset management
  • Market cap: $2.9 billion
  • Stock price: $34.10
  • Forward dividend yield: 3.3%
  • P/E ratio: 10.98

Federated Hermes Overview

Federated Hermes is a mutual fund manager that caters to businesses, agencies, insurance companies, endowments, banks and broker/dealers.

Why FHI Is A Top Pick

In the third quarter of 2023, FHI reported record high numbers for managed assets ($715 billion) and money market assets ($525 billion). By fund flows, the company ranks in the top 7% of equity fund managers and the top 9% of money market fund managers, according to Morningstar.

That growth, fueled in part by several acquisitions closed in the last few years, bodes well for FHI investors. The company pays a good dividend yield of 3.3% and maintains a generous buyback program.

10. Shutterstock (SSTK)

  • Industry: Internet content
  • Market cap: $1.7 billion
  • Stock price: $48.52
  • Forward dividend yield: 2.2%
  • P/E ratio: 14.84

Shutterstock Overview

Shutterstock provides royalty-free images, music, videos and illustrations to designers, corporate marketing teams and media and broadcast companies.

Why SSTK Is A Top Pick

Shutterstock has delivered a string of impressive EPS surprises recently. In its third quarter of 2023, SSTK’s reported EPS of $1.26 beat the consensus of $0.81 by 55%. The company has also raised its full-year 2023 guidance more than once. The latest expectation is for sales growth of 5% to 7% and adjusted diluted EPS growth of 8% to 10%.

The company has achieved growth by increasing its content library into new categories, which also broadens its total addressable market. Institutional investors and hedge funds like that formula, as several have opened positions or increased positions with Shutterstock in recent months.

Strategies For Long-Term Success

Before jumping into these or other value stock picks for 2024, make sure you’ve set yourself up for success. Profitable value stock investing requires a long-term outlook as well as a plan. Ideally, your plan should include the following strategies:

  1. Research and monitoring: Go beyond the metrics and evaluate the business models of prospective stocks. Before you buy, you should firmly believe in the company’s value proposition and competitive advantage. After you buy, it’s important to monitor company news to ensure the value-add remains compelling and the competitive advantage remains intact.
  2. Ability to overlook temporary headwinds: Value stocks tend to be resilient, but they can face temporary headwinds. Remember that you’re in this for the long haul, so temporary conditions such as market cycles aren’t immediately a reason to sell.
  3. Defining your exit parameters: It’s easier to look past the temporary stuff when you’ve defined circumstances that would cause you to sell a stock. Try doing this before you buy. Decide what you like about the stock and think about what would have to change for you to sell it.
  4. Dividend reinvestment: Reinvesting your dividends creates compound growth opportunities. Unless the dividends are paying your bills, make it a practice to reinvest them. They don’t have to go into the same stock, however. Use the cash wherever it’s needed to maintain your target asset allocation.

Bottom Line

Value stocks can deliver solid returns over time with less stress than their growth-oriented counterparts. The trick is to understand the companies you invest in so you can evaluate their metrics, milestones and earnings reports objectively.

Ideally, you’ll hold your value stocks indefinitely—or until something permanently weakens the business model. In the meantime, collect and reinvest those dividends. Soon enough, you’ll see your wealth momentum and income potential pick up speed. That’s when value stocks really show their worth.

Read Next (H3)

The brain trust at Forbes has run the numbers, conducted the research, and done the analysis to come up with some of the best places for you to make money in 2024. Download one of Forbes' most popular and widely anticipated reports, 12 Best Stocks To Buy for 2024.

Fri, 22 Dec 2023 05:53:00 -0600 Catherine Brock en text/html https://www.forbes.com/sites/investor-hub/article/best-value-stocks-2024/
How To Raise Money To Grow And Scale

Raising capital is harder than ever and investors need to be captivated by the underlying purpose driving your business, according to a former Cisco C-level executive and venture capitalist who aims to disrupt the IT networking market status quo, backed by $125 million in funding.

“Every dollar invested will be scrutinized, demanding you to paint a larger picture about how your vision aligns with clear business priorities of your target audience,” says CEO Pankaj Patel of Nile, a relatively new enterprise networking and IT infrastructure as-a-service company.

Nile was formed in 2018 by cofounders Patel (former Chief Development Officer at Cisco) and John Chambers (former CEO at Cisco), who have worked together for nearly 25 years as one of the network industry’s most powerful leadership duos. In the fall of 2022 Nile announced plans to disrupt the networking industry.

In a recent videoconference interview, Patel offered this advice to companies of any size who want to find investors to fund growth:

Have a clear vision from the start: it is crucial for your success. “At Nile, we have maintained our vision since day one, but adjusted how we present our solution,” said Patel. We faced the choice of targeting to become a leader in an existing category or creating a brand new market segment altogether. Rather than forcing ourselves into a noisy market, we decided to boldly establish our own category and write our own story.”

Unlock success through effective communication. “I deeply empathize with engineer founders who may struggle with effective communication,” said Patel. “I have also heavily relied on my technical expertise in the past. But reflecting on my time at Cisco, I discovered a common thread among successful leaders: they had mastered the art of communication. Their ability to convey their strategy with precision increased their team’s effectiveness across the company and accelerated their professional growth.”

Build an unbeatable go-to-market dream team. “While a strong technical team is necessary for success in the early days, you also need multidisciplinary leadership to grow at an effective pace,” said Patel. “I ventured into the business side of the house as I managed fast growing teams, got to participate in Cisco’s acquisition of other companies and evaluated investments while at JC2 Ventures.”

Expand your horizon: look beyond traditional VCs and the US market. “In addition to traditional venture capitalists (VCs), it's crucial to prioritize strategic investors who can offer additional value for your startup next to financial support,” said Patel. “They frequently facilitate valuable connections with customers, and open doors to new go-to-market partnerships.”

Patel will address these issues and more as a keynote speaker at the third annual Growth Summit, sponsored by the Executive Next Practices Institute at UC Irvine Beall Applied Innovation on August 10, 2023. Patel will be joined by about 100 California CEOs discussing how to grow in this challenging economic climate.

“By having a clear vision, proving your value, communicating effectively, assembling a dream team, and thinking globally, you might get one step closer to building your own empire,” said Patel. “We will all be rooting for you.”

Thu, 13 Jul 2023 01:00:00 -0500 Henry DeVries en text/html https://www.forbes.com/sites/henrydevries/2023/07/13/how-to-raise-money-to-grow-and-scale/
Professional Organizing Tips and Tricks That’ll Change Your Life in 2024
Woman's World aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Questions? Reach us at shop@womansworld.com

The new year is here and if you have decluttering and organizing on the brain, we hear you! Woman's World connected with some of the best in the organization world to help you get neat and tidy in 2024. Hear from experts about the best way to declutter your space, plus the products that can help keep you organized.

What can homeowners do to get organized in 2024?

"Prioritize and declutter," Sarit Weiss, Founder and Lead Organizer of Neat & Orderly, a Professional Organizing company in New York City, says simply.

"Start by identifying the area that bothers you the most and prioritize it. Tackling one space at a time prevents burnout and allows for a more focused approach."

Decluttering should also be part of this process. "Get rid of items you no longer need or use," Weiss says. "Consider donating, recycling, or selling to minimize unnecessary belongings."

Weiss also suggests investing in functional storage solutions to help with the decluttering. Below are some products recommended by professional organizers as well as some of our favorites!

Functional storage and organizers for the New Year

Functional Storage

Buy from QVC, $97

"Choose modular shelving, storage bins, and multipurpose furniture to maximize space efficiently," Weiss says. "Customizable storage solutions adapt to your specific needs, making organization a seamless process."

Buy Now

Drawer Dividers

Buy from The Container Store, $20

"Invest in drawer dividers to keep smaller items organized and easily accessible," Weiss suggests.

Buy now

Closet Organizers

Buy from The Container Store, $32

"Closet organizers can make a significant difference in maintaining an orderly wardrobe," adds Weiss.

Buy now

Stackable Organizers

Buy from The Container Store starting at $10

"Consider stackable storage solutions such as stackable sweater bins and stackable shoe bins to make the most of vertical space and keep items neatly arranged," Weiss says, suggesting this large drop-front shoe box in black ($13 from The Container Store).

Buy now

Storage Ottoman

Buy from Amazon, $281

"A bestseller, the Harrison Coffee Table Storage Ottoman features a contemporary design with a split-top tufted top," organizing experts from Simpli-Home tell us. "One side lifts to become a table, perfect for working or eating on, and it has a large storage basin to hide blankets, books or any other items. Choose from kind vegan leather, tweed or linen in various colors to suit any home."

Buy now

Storage Table

Buy from SimpliHome, $659

"Made from solid mango wood, the Hunter Coffee Table caters to a variety of needs," say SimpliHome experts. "The top can be lifted on two sides, revealing storage space and offering an elevated surface suitable for work or dining. Additionally, the table features two open compartments, perfect for showcasing books, decorative items and more."

Buy now

Storage Bench

Buy from SimpliHome, $289

"Perfect for a mudroom or entryway, the Brooklyn Entryway Storage Bench is the epitome of 'form follows function.,'" adds SimpliHome. "Crafted with high-quality solid wood, the bench comfortably seats 2 people and lifts up to reveal 2 large internal storage compartments. The contemporary style is offered in several finishes, including Dark Coffee Brown, Black, Medium Saddle Brown, White, Light Golden Brown, and Farmhouse Grey."

Buy now

Organizing Activity Cards

Buy from Amazon, $20

Diane N. Quintana, a Certified Professional Organizer at DNQ Solutions, LLC, created this deck of cards with fellow organizer, Jonda Beattie. "We recommend our clients use the deck of cards to declutter their home," Quintana says. "Then, if they require organizing bins, baskets or drawers we measure the space, determine what the product will hold, and then find the products for our clients."

Buy now

Organizing Journal

Buy from Amazon, $25

Quintana also created this planner for organization. "It has a place to record three quick wins and fields to capture all the necessary information for the day," Quintana tells Woman's World. "This planner is undated. You use it when you need it and there are no wasted pages."

Buy now

Editor's organization picks

We couldn't conclude this article without some of my favorite organization picks! These products have been tested and loved by me and I highly recommend them to anyone looking to get organized in the new year.

Closet Drawer Unit

Buy from The Container Store, $129

Editor's Note: I use these drawers in my linen closet to organize soaps, candles, and household cleaning products, but it would be great in any closet! The drawers are wide enough and deep enough to hold a lot, including all of my gift wrapping supplies, cleaning cloths, and more.

Buy Now

Makeup Organizer

Buy from Amazon, $50

Editor's Note: When something goes viral, I have to try it! This makeup bag isn't the exact one that took off on TikTok (that makeup organizer retails for $100) but it's similar and has the LED lighted mirror and customizable compartments, which is all I need to organize my various beauty products.

Buy Now

Pantry Organizer

Buy from The Container Store, $155

Editor's Note: For me, an organized pantry is life. Being able to see everything we have food-wise helps me shop smarter, cook better, and snack simpler!

Buy Now

Want more organizing tips for 2024? Keep reading!

5 Expert Tips for Storing Christmas Decorations Without Cluttering Your Home

5 Surprising Downsizing Tricks That Will Nix Clutter and Ramp Up Your Style

7 Easy Ways to Use Baskets to Store Things in Every Room of Your Home

Woman’s World may receive compensation for purchases made when you click on a link and buy something from this article.

Woman’s World aims to feature only the best products and services. We update when possible, but deals expire and prices can change. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Questions? Reach us at shop@womansworld.com

Thu, 28 Dec 2023 19:37:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/professional-organizing-tips-tricks-ll-143754965.html
Cisco Redefines Cybersecurity Defense with Powerful, Portfolio-Wide Artificial Intelligence Capabilities


  • The new Cisco AI Assistant for Security marks a major step in making artificial intelligence pervasive in the Security Cloud, Cisco's unified, AI-driven, cross-domain security platform.
  • The AI Assistant will reframe how organizations think about cybersecurity outcomes and tip the scales in favor of defenders by helping make informed decisions, augment existing capabilities and automate complex tasks.
  • With unmatched visibility across the network and security, Cisco's AI Assistant is trained on one of the largest security-focused data sets in the world, which analyzes more than 550 billion security events each day.

MELBOURNE, Australia, Dec. 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- CISCO LIVE -- Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO), the leader in enterprise networking and security, today unveiled the Cisco AI Assistant for Security. This marks a major step in making artificial intelligence (AI) pervasive in the Security Cloud, Cisco's unified, AI-driven, cross-domain security platform. The AI Assistant will help customers make informed decisions, augment their tool capabilities and automate complex tasks.

"To be an AI-first company, you must be a data-first company. With our extensive native telemetry, Cisco is uniquely positioned to deliver cybersecurity solutions that allow businesses to confidently operate at machine scale, augmenting what humans can do alone," said Jeetu Patel, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Security and Collaboration at Cisco. "Today's announcement is a monumental step forward. This advancement will help tip the scales in favor of defenders, empowering customers with AI built pervasively throughout the Cisco Security Cloud."

As cyber attacks continue to evolve, organizations' defenses must, too. Ransomware and extortion attacks continue to persist at a steady pace, making up 20 percent of Cisco Talos Incident Response engagements this year, according to the new Cisco Talos 2023 Year in Review report. Talos also observed an increase in sophisticated attacks on networking devices this past year, particularly by state-sponsored actors. The increased speed and sophistication of malicious actors requires the adoption of machine scale defenses.

With unmatched visibility across the network and security, Cisco works with more machine-driven telemetry and on a scale larger than most in the industry. The new Cisco AI Assistant for Security is trained on one of the largest security-focused data sets in the world, which analyzes more than 550 billion security events each day across web, email, endpoints, networks and applications. It can understand event triage, impact and scope, root cause analysis and policy design. With this data, the AI Assistant aims to close the gap between cybersecurity intent and outcomes. All of Cisco's AI capabilities are built securely and align with Cisco's Responsible AI Framework

Continuing the rapid pace of innovation, today Cisco is introducing:

  • AI Assistant for Firewall Policy: The Cisco AI Assistant for Security is first going live within the Cisco Cloud-delivered Firewall Management Center and Cisco Defense Orchestrator to solve the big challenge of setting and maintaining complex policies and firewall rules. Administrators can now use natural language to discover policies and get rule recommendations, eliminating duplicate rules, misconfigured policies and complex workflows with increased visibility as well as accelerated troubleshooting and configuration tasks.
  • AI-powered Encrypted Visibility Engine for All Firewall Models: Most data center traffic today is encrypted and the inability to inspect encrypted traffic is a key security concern. Decrypting traffic for inspection is resource-intensive and fraught with operational, privacy and compliance issues. With the 7.4.1 Operating System now available across the entire Cisco Secure Firewall family, customers see AI go even further via the Encrypted Visibility Engine. The Encrypted Visibility Engine leverages billions of samples, including sandboxed malware samples, to determine if the encrypted traffic is transporting malware. It can tell which operating system the traffic is coming from and what client application is generating that - all without the need for decryption.

"The ability for AI to reshape our daily lives and professional landscapes is immense. As a longstanding Cisco partner, we're excited about the new Cisco AI Assistant for Security and how this will empower our customers with AI-driven efficiencies," said Graham Robinson, Chief Technology Officer, Data#3. "The introduction of the AI Assistant to Cisco Firewall Management Center will help our customers quickly and easily configure policy changes. When combined with the new features in the 7.4.1 software release and the Encrypted Visibility Engine, this offers a truly compelling overall experience."

To learn more visit cisco.com/go/security.

Additional Resources

About Cisco
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide technology leader that securely connects everything to make anything possible. Our purpose is to power an inclusive future for all by helping our customers reimagine their applications, power hybrid work, secure their enterprise, transform their infrastructure and meet their sustainability goals. Discover more on The Newsroom and follow us on X at @Cisco.

Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco's trademarks can be found at www.cisco.com/go/trademarks. Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.

Photo - https://mma.prnasia.com/media2/2293661/Cisco_AI_Assistant_for_Security.jpg?p=medium600 

Logo - https://mma.prnasia.com/media2/813707/Cisco_v2_Logo.jpg?p=medium600 

Tue, 05 Dec 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.asiaone.com/business/cisco-redefines-cybersecurity-defense-powerful-portfolio-wide-artificial-intelligence

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