­Making the Impossible, Possible

Last year, one of my colleagues went to a start-up conference with 2,000 people. On stage, someone asked the audience how many were working on consumer apps. Almost everyone raised their hands. Then the person asked how many were working on enterprise apps. This time only three hands went up. Three.

The consumer space seems to get all the cool, new, fun, productivity-enhancing apps that users love. And the enterprise space is left with fairly old tools like email. IT teams know it, trust it, and have the tools to manage and monitor it according to their policies and security needs. While today’s email apps look more modern, the tool itself emerged more than 20 years ago and has changed very little since.

Building a Bridge Between Users and IT

The new digital world is putting our businesses under constant pressure to move faster and be more efficient in order to compete. That is why users bring their newer, next-generation collaboration consumer apps to the workplace.

This often creates a conflict between users and the IT department. When users get to the office, they want the efficiency and productivity of consumer apps. Meanwhile, IT is responsible for important things like content protection, data loss, eDiscovery, retention, compliance, and intellectual property protection.

At Cisco, we’ve worked hard to change the paradigm and create products that both users and IT love.

At Cisco, we’ve worked hard to change the paradigm and create products that both users and IT love. Some people told us it was impossible, so we took on the challenge to make the impossible, possible.

And that is why we created Cisco Spark as one tool that is designed for both users and IT. It delivers powerful collaboration for users with persistent chat, powerful embedded video meeting experiences, white boarding, file sharing, and more. It is built for the modern workforce. It’s easy, intuitive, and fun to use. For IT, it delivers the enterprise controls for deployment, with the security IT requires through end-to-end encryption.

Introducing What’s New with Cisco Spark

Today, we’re making several announcements about Cisco Spark. Check out the press release for the full announcement. But here, I want to focus on innovations specifically focused on adding a suite of advanced enterprise capabilities in the Cisco Spark platform:

  • End-to-end message encryption plus enterprise-level compliance features: Enterprises need tools like eDiscovery for legal reasons and data loss prevention to keep sensitive information safe. They also need end-to-end message encryption to keep your team’s “next big thing” idea under wraps. Cisco Spark is the first-ever enterprise messaging product that actually does both.
  • Data security equivalent to on-premises storage: In another industry-first – and the culmination of four years of R&D – enterprises can protect themselves from attacks against the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. We’ve enabled the ability for customers to run an on-premises key server to encrypt and decrypt all content sent to Cisco Spark. This on-prem key server establishes data security equivalent to on-prem data storage. With this new capability, Cisco Spark is the industry’s first end-to-end cloud encryption solution utilizing on-premises key stores.
  • Mind-blowing fluid analytics that simplify insights: With just a few clicks, you can tell who suffered the worst call quality, pinpoint where they are in the world, and see whether the problem is widespread or localized. Data manipulation is so simple that it feels like the entire cloud database is stored in the administrator’s browser. We call this “fluid analytics” and believe it sets the bar pretty high.
Cisco Spark Control Hub
Click to enlarge.
  • Mobile device security on non-managed devices: Bring-your-own device (BYO) programs for PCs and mobile phones can be scary for IT. To simplify things, we have baked in key device and application management features with Cisco Spark. New capabilities include:
    • Graceful PIN lock enforces device-level PIN lock on any device without sacrificing user adoption
    • Web Smart Timeouts let the Cisco Spark web app know when it is running outside of the company network and automatically log out the user
    • Enterprise Certificate Pinning protects from malicious hotspot providers and access networks without requiring the user to actually enable their company VPN client

We are really proud to bring these enterprise capabilities to the collaboration market, without compromising the simplicity and ease-of-use of our Cisco Spark collaboration apps. That is making the impossible, possible.

Try out Cisco Spark for yourself and let me know what you think below or @jensmeggers.



Jens Meggers

No Longer with Cisco