What does it actually take to enable the 89 percent of Cisco employees who do at least some of their work remotely? For Cisco IT, this challenge means supporting products and services on both sides of the connection: in the teleworker’s home (and on their mobile devices) and in the Cisco corporate network.
Cisco Teleworkers Solutions in Employee Homes
We currently support three solutions to meet the teleworking needs of our mobile and remote employees:
Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client: Installed on the employee’s laptop or mobile device, this software client provides a secure VPN connection to the Cisco network. It is available to any Cisco employee and we currently support 30,000 users.
Cisco OfficeExtend: This solution includes a wireless access point that secures connectivity for the employee’s laptop and Cisco Unified IP Phone 9971 over a home network while reducing congestion, wireless interference, and security risks from other devices. We use this solution primarily for contact center agents, contractors, and employees who don’t require the HD-quality video of Cisco TelePresence for their work.
Cisco Virtual Office: This solution uses a Cisco 881 Integrated Services Router in the home to connect an employee’s laptop and Cisco Unified IP Phone 9971 to the Cisco network over an encrypted VPN. It also delivers HD video for the Cisco Jabber Video for TelePresence client or a separate Cisco EX 90 personal video endpoint. Cisco Virtual Office is used by employees who telework extensively and we currently support over 26,000 users.
The diagram below shows how these solutions connect to the Cisco network via the employee’s residential broadband Internet access service.
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The intelligence of the next generation Cisco IT network fabric (called Extended Enterprise Network or E2N) is defined as dynamic, aware, secure, programmable, agile, manageable, automated, and policy-based. The new network architecture is pervasive, non-segmented, non-fragmented, and non-location specific. Identity is becoming the new corporate perimeter, and network data is becoming big data. As the internet becomes the internet of everything, device proliferation is exploding, and work is becoming not a location, but a human function. Client server architecture has transitioned from a client–server model to an increasingly mobile and cloud based paradigm. And today video is becoming part of the baseline productivity tools - essentially the new audio. New realities are changing the nature of network management, and Cisco IT’s strategic direction is to address them by implementing the Cisco Prime Framework as the foundation of the new network.
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Cisco IT monitors and manages a huge voice infrastructure, with over 200,000 UC endpoints, and the Cisco Prime Collaboration solution helps us do this work efficiently.
For example, a common problem for my team is identifying which devices are provisioned in the Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Cisco UCM), but are no longer in use. This issue is getting more complex as Cisco employees have multiple devices associated with their one directory number. In a typical case, a salesperson might have a desk phone and a Cisco TelePresence personal video endpoint in the office, another phone in their home office, and use Cisco Jabber clients on a laptop and smartphone at home, at customer sites, or while traveling. Cisco Prime Collaboration lets me easily view this information and verify that the employee is actively using all of these devices.
Hardware phones in particular can become inactive when an employee leaves or transfers and no one else moves to that desk. Cisco Prime Collaboration lets me easily identify and remove that phone. We can also detect which employees haven’t downloaded the latest Jabber client version and encourage them to update their devices to the currently supported software.
Cisco Prime Collaboration gives me a very easy graphical interface to see into the whole global network, and then allows me to drill down to any components to see what’s going on.
Figure 1: Sample CPC Network Topology, enabling drilldown on each location and device