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Cisco Announces New Cloud Collaboration Capabilities and Deployment Options

In meeting with customers and partners, I hear repeatedly how key market transitions – mobility fueled by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, cloud as a delivery model and the pervasive use of video – are dramatically shifting how organizations communicate and collaborate, both internally and externally.  They want to collaborate from anywhere, at anytime, and on any device — with a superior user experience. For maximum business benefit, they want to accelerate collaboration services across their organization. They want options and they need agility.

Today, Cisco unveiled multiple enhancements to our Cisco Collaboration portfolio — delivered via public, private, hosted/managed cloud models — that provide customers access to an expanded set of market-leading collaboration offerings.  Customers have greater choice in how they deploy collaboration offerings based on their specific needs or requirements.  They also have new options for accelerating collaboration across their business quickly, securely, and reliably. Read More »

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): It’s Good for Business

October 15, 2012 at 1:21 am PST

Too often, IT departments regard Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) computing in a negative light, as something they are being dragged into by individualistic end users. IT marketers don’t help the situation much, with rhetoric about how their company’s wares help IT cope with the scary challenges of BYOD.

I view BYOD not as a threat to established IT, but as an opportunity to generate more business value. BYOD benefits include bringing business processes physically closer to customers, ability to engage customers and stakeholders on their own terms, and to develop new modes of end-user engagement that re-energize ongoing business processes and often invent new ones.

First and foremost, BYOD represents an historic opportunity to extend IT services to new classes of users on an anytime, anywhere basis. Who wouldn’t want to do that? Organizations have invested billions of dollars in core Read More »

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Collaboration in a Post-PC World Part One: Meet the Team

The workplace has moved beyond the PC as the only means to work. Influenced by their consumer experiences, employee expectations for collaboration have reached new heights. Collaboration must meet the needs of the mobile workplace -- including extending beyond the corporate issued laptop to their device and platform of choice. Anywhere you go collaboration is top of mind for business executives and knowledge workers alike, and they are no longer willing to accept a work environment in which stepping away from your PC turns you into a second-class contributor.

This is putting a lot of pressure on technology leaders from the CIO and the VP of IT, to the VP of Applications. They’re being tasked with creating and supporting a mobile, social, visual, and virtual workspace that unlocks the potential each person brings to the table. People working together can achieve extraordinary things. Today’s challenge for technology and business leaders alike is how to best bring them together over distance as participants in a global economy. The crux of the challenge is to empower people to work their way – where, when and how they want – without limits. How do you architect a solution that supports the way people in a wide variety of roles want to work and on their device of choice? How do you provide a user experience that can engage them all in a way that brings out and connects their expertise and enthusiasm to fuel creativity and innovation? How do you empower, engage and innovate to unlock the potential in each person?

To get an idea of the scope of this challenge, check out our new at-a-glance “Collaboration in the Post-PC Era”  graphic  Read More »

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Unlocking the power of mobility: The right technology, culture and process

Freedom brings risks and rewards. And, that is certainly true when it comes to mobility for most organizations. Mobility unleashes our ability to communicate, collaborate and innovate across geographies. These rewards, however, come with security, policy and network management challenges. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear this first-hand from customers, partners, and providers as they think through the issues associated with bring your own device or “BYOD”.

And with more sophisticated mobile devices entering the consumer market, the BYOD trend will only accelerate. As 44% of workers use three+ devices for work each day, our customers now recognize that they need to think beyond the device and address the issues of secure data access and network management. Their challenge: how to “lock it down before they free it up.”

A recent global survey commissioned by Cisco from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Secure Data Access in a Mobile Environment, questioned 578 senior executives on the current and ongoing challenges stemming from increasing trends toward worker and user mobility, and how this has shaped company BYOD practices and policies. The respondents represented several different industries, with major ones including IT and technology (13%), financial services (11%), professional services (11%) and energy and natural resources (9%). Overall, the results found that although manyexecutives are uneasy about the security of corporate information on mobile devices, the trend is largely unstoppable and proper policies must be initiated to underpin access to this sensitive information.

In my new role as head of worldwide sales for Cisco, I oversee a distributed team of highly mobile professionals around the world who require the ability to “work their way” regardless of location, so I can relate to the challenges our customers are facing when it comes to managing the influx of personal mobile devices. Below are a few key findings from the survey, which are consistent with what I’m hearing from our customers:

  • Most executives are still uneasy about their companies’ mobile data-access policies.
  • 42% say that C-suite needs secure and timely access to strategic data, yet, only 28% believe it’s appropriate to access this from mobile devices.
  • 49% say the complexity of securing multiple data sources and a lack of knowledge about mobile-access security and risk are top challenges for their companies.
  • Larger companies are most willing to allow mobile access to critical data, but also impose stricter rules
  • 47% of companies with revenue under $500m permit access on personal devices with policies that are more informal.
  • Over 90% of companies with over $1b revenue allow access to data via personal and company devices and have written and enforced security policies.
  • BYOD requires that companies take a fresh look at how they attempt to control devices and use. And importantly, mobile policies must not neglect social networking.
  • There is a gap in what is stated and what is allowed; 56% of respondents have policies for acceptable use of social networks on mobile devices, yet, 33% of the executives are restricted from discussing work on these platforms.
  • With an influx of devices, available infrastructure is the key influence on company policies around mobile access.
  • 60% cite IT infrastructure requirements as the primary influence on policy around security and security related to mobile access

It’s clear from the survey findings that each new opportunity to further connect and engage employees brings with it a corresponding set of challenges. Social media will become a critical component in the world of BYOD, as multiple devices necessitate collaboration technologies that must work in tandem. Tools will also have to become adaptive, as social applications begin to overlay with collaboration technologies. Additionally, mobile applications will begin expanding into the mobile workforce, creating further implications for those working outside the firewall.

With this in mind, the creation of a collaboration strategy that integrates  the right technology, the right culture and the right processes is key to unlocking the power of mobility. On the technology front, we know that devices are only as useful as the connections they have, which makes an intelligent network more critical than ever before.

At Cisco we’re committed to helping you address the challenges associated with BYOD so that you can enable your employees to work where and how they want, securely. I would encourage you to check out the full EIU report here, and then learn how Cisco and our partners can help you build a unified workplace strategy at www.cisco.com/go/yourway.  Let me know your thoughts on the survey and how Cisco can help your business. We’re only just beginning to see how mobility will transform the enterprise and Cisco is excited to lead the way.

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Securing the Cloud with Common Criteria

Last week I attended the ICCC in Paris where Ashit Vora, Manager, Security Assurance, Cisco discussed the Cloud and how Common Criteria can be used to help mitigate threats.  The following is an excerpt from his presentation and food for thought on Cloud security.

More and more enterprises, including governments are moving their data “to the Cloud” in the hopes of saving infrastructure and maintenance costs.  But is this at the risk of security? As both private and public Clouds become pervasive, security is going to be a major concern.   Cloud infrastructure by definition has large amounts of information including proprietary information, competitive information, information of different classification levels, etc.  In addition, the types of mechanism available to access the information in the Cloud, such as B.Y.O.D. (Bring Your Own Device), are increasing day by day. If the proper security mechanisms are not in place and validated, it could prove to be damaging to all users of the Cloud.

Read More »

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