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Project Squared Update: Secure Media

The cloud is software in motion.

Our recently announced Cisco Collaboration Cloud did not stop moving once we launched it on November 17. We’ve been pushing code into the cloud multiple times per day and have release several client updates since we launched. The great thing about this model is that we can be delivering new features constantly without waiting for a giant release. This also means that, when a feature doesn’t get done by a particular date, it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t need to wait for a huge release 6-12 months later. It might come just a few weeks later.

This is exactly what has happened with an important security feature which we didn’t quite finish in time for Collaboration Summit – secure media (also known as Secure RTP or SRTP). The version of the application that we launched on November 17 did not utilize secure media in all clients. Given our focus on security this was obviously something we weren’t happy about. But, we knew that it was almost done and we would push it soon enough.

I’m pleased to report that we have indeed pushed secure media. All of our Project Squared clients – the Mac, Android, IOS and web clients send all media in encrypted form to our media servers. The media is secured using a flavor of SRTP known as DTLS-SRTP, which performs the key exchange inline with the media itself.  SRTP is on by default and cannot be disabled. This is consistent with our general approach to security – to make it always there but invisible to end users. Neither our users nor our admins of the collaboration cloud need to do anything to make sure media is secure. It just is.

Of course – we’re not done yet! There is still a healthy backlog of features, including many more great security improvements, that we’re working on. Stay tuned, more stuff is  coming. That’s because the cloud is software in motion.

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Use Video to Make Internal Communications Count

blog image Patty Post 12_15_14As I am sitting in heavy traffic on the way home from work, my finger tips tapping impatiently on the steering wheel, my mind wandering… I suddenly think of the Chinese program that I am so glad to have recorded on TV. Without this convenience, I would have missed it.

I can’t help but reflect on how big the opportunity is for companies to deliver information via pre-recorded, on-demand, interactive video.

Just recently, I was talking to my colleagues about how different time zones often make it difficult to attend conferences live. Thankfully, we can access the recordings. These can save so much time and let us catch up with the topics that matter most to us.

One of my colleagues also pointed out how valuable the leadership briefings are to keep employees informed. Although we’re based in the UK and Cisco headquarters are in California, we do like to get regular updates and feel involved. She said that she watches the meetings on demand from her laptop or on her iPad while travelling.

If only more companies made more of their communications available in this way… Read More »

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Under the Hood: Cisco Collaboration Cloud

It’s been two weeks since the launch of Project Squared and the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. We’ve received fantastic feedback and great uptake. And we’re really happy that so many people are using Project Squared – and liking the experience.

I’d like to take you on a little behind-the-scenes tour and shed some light on the Cisco Collaboration Cloud and how it works. Here is a 10,000 foot view of the architecture:

Jdrosen blog image 12_15_14

The core architecture is built on OpenStack. We use it for compute, networking, and storage services. OpenStack supports both the functional components of the architecture as well as the operational services, such as: logging, metrics, events, health and even VPN services (for inter-DC messaging and replication). Read More »

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The Future of Work: The Partnership Between HR and IT

The workplace is forever evolving.

With the widespread use of collaboration technology and the addition of Gen Y and Gen X employees, it’s knowledge workers who are driving changes in the workplace.

The emerging mantra is: Work is something you do, it is no longer someplace you go. (And if you do go to a traditional office, culture is a determining factor keeping employees happy and engaged!)

As such the definition of a workday is more flexible than ever before and employees are seeking work/life integration instead of work/life balance.

As these dynamics shift and the proliferations of new technology becomes more pervasive, creating a successful environment for the future of work will depend on a strong relationship between IT and HR at the executive level.

This creates an opportunity for HR and IT leaders along with the CIO to evolve from technology administrators to strategic business partners.

Recently, I had the chance to participate in a new Future of IT podcast with SAP’s Brigette McInnis-Day to discuss how IT and HR leaders could work together in this Future of Work landscape.

Read More »

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Expressway: The Invisibility Cloak for Mobile & Remote Users

Improving workforce productivity is about more than telling employees to work harder, do more, and think faster. It’s about giving them the right resources and removing barriers so that they can do more.  One way Cisco is helping organizations improve productivity is by making our technology invisible to users.  We’re designing our products to be so intuitive that the complexity of the technology fades away and simply lets the end-users do what they need to do.  No training, no extra buttons to push, no fancy set ups, and no need to involve IT.   It’s a journey, but we are making progress.  A great example of this progress is Cisco Expressway, our advanced collaboration gateway.  It is the “invisibility cloak” for a variety of use cases including for mobile and remote workers.

Unknown to remote and mobile Cisco Jabber users, Cisco Expressway is behind the scenes doing the work to make their experiences secure and easy.  Employees simply log into Jabber and begin collaborating on their device of choice no matter where they are.  It’s Expressway’s firewall traversal technology working in the background that hides (eliminates) the need for the user to fire up a VPN. And with Expressway x8.5’s new single sign-on capabilities, employees do not need their user name and password every time they want to access a different application on Jabber.  It just works.

Similarly, Expressway is helping teleworkers by enabling VPN-less access for Cisco endpoints including Read More »

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