What Is the Cisco Collaboration Cloud?
Today at Collaboration Summit, we announced a bunch of really exciting stuff: the IX5000, the Project Squared client, and the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. This third announcement is a big one for me personally. Since my arrival at Cisco, I have invested a lot of my time and energy working on the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.
So, what exactly is it? Simply put, Cisco Collaboration Cloud is the server-side software that powers the Project Squared client. But, it’s also a whole lot more than that. We see the market going through a substantial transition around cloud and mobile. We knew this required us to place a big bet on the technology platform that would help us leapfrog through this market change. Cisco Collaboration Cloud, or C3 for short, is one of those big bets.
The first thing we needed was a software platform in the cloud that would deliver a fantastic user experience. More important, we needed to build a platform from which we could continuously evolve and improve the user experience. The reality is that it’s incredibly hard to just sit in a room, think about how the product should look, ship it to customers, and be completely right – on the first try. Unless you are Steve Jobs, you need to iterate based on feedback.
The best client experiences in the market today are powered by cloud platforms that iterate incredibly quickly, with new software pushes in the cloud on a daily basis. Doing that is hard. It requires software that is capable of hitless upgrades (meaning, no downtime when doing an upgrade). And it requires tons of automation for everything from testing to deployment.
So, we built all of that. Iteration is a key tenet of the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. But frankly, iteration is almost table-stakes in modern cloud software design.
Next, we needed was a platform that could deliver a great user experience, but do it in a way that had enough security features to make IT happy. So, we did that too. We’ve built in a capability called “end-to-end content encryption” as a core part of the C3 platform. With end-to-end content encryption, the client encrypts every message, every photo, and every document added to a room is first encrypted before uploading. When the client receives the content from the cloud, it receives it in encrypted form, then decrypts it locally. Because of this, content is always stored in encrypted form. It also means that the content cannot be intercepted in unencrypted form at any point in the processing through our cloud. This gives IT really strong assurances of security for their content. Security is a key tenet of the Cisco Collaboration Cloud.
Another challenge for IT to adopt cloud services is the fact that many of them – especially collaboration services – end up being islands that are not integrated with their existing premises-based infrastructure. To solve that, we have made fusion another key tenet of the Cisco Collaboration Cloud. Fusion refers to the ability to combine premises software and services, partner software and services, and C3 software and services together in innovative ways. The Cisco Collaboration Cloud integrates with premises Active Directory, allowing for Single Sign On (SSO) and directory synchronization. We also integrate with unified communications, of course, enabling capabilities like single-number reach (SNR) to the cloud. And there’s support for additional integrations because we’ve made SIP and XMPP interoperability first-class capabilities of C3.
Finally, we knew we needed a platform that worked well within the typical collaboration ecosystem that is so critical for our customers, including partners, administrators, consultants, customer support, and so on. To facilitate that, we’ve made ecosystem another key tenet of our cloud. We’ve built a world-class administration portal for partners and enterprise administrators, with a user experience that is as awesome as the end-user client. Through this portal, our partners and administrators can access insights, analytics, easy configuration and setup, and more. Partners, for example, can easily create trials with just a few clicks, and monitor the progress of their customers.
In summary – our new Cisco Collaboration Cloud is an incredible platform that will help power Cisco collaboration through this next market transition. The Cisco Collaboration Cloud does more than just power the Project Squared client. It provides us the ability to rapidly iterate on improving the experiences of all services tied to the cloud. It gives IT unprecedented levels of security. Through fusion, it works with IT’s existing software and services. And it provides support for the entire ecosystem needed to power business-grade collaboration.
And this is just the beginning. You haven’t seen anything yet.