Our customers are the heart and soul of everything we do at Cisco and each one of them has an interesting story to tell! Our Q&A series allows us to shine a spotlight on some of our most passionate customer advocates in The Global Gateway community as we learn more about their stories and backgrounds.

You may be wondering: What is The Global Gateway? It’s a community for Cisco customers where they can build powerful connections, expand their professional and personal networks, and learn from top experts in their field. One of our goals with our advocacy community is to deepen our relationships with our customers and today, we have one of the friendliest faces in The Global Gateway joining us for a chat. I’m excited to welcome Marcel Janecek from Syntax Systems GmbH.

Welcome, Marcel! Let’s kick things off by talking about what you wanted to be when you were 16 years old?

Thank you for having me, Rashik! It is an absolute pleasure for me to be part of Cisco’s Gateway community. I read all the success stories, blogs and articles, and now it’s like a dream that there is a blog about me. Something like this usually never happens to me, so I’m really excited to talk with you!

And now back to your question. When I was 16, I never considered IT as a career path. Instead, my goal was to become a successful lawyer where I envisioned myself helping people with their problems and protecting the world from bad people! Funny enough, it turns out that I can still do those things but in a completely different field. I found that my inner voice would always pull me to computers, and this guided me to my career in IT. I can also confidently say that it’s much easier working with PCs than dealing with the never-ending number of law books.

I’m sure you would have made an amazing lawyer, Marcel, but I’m happy to hear you found your passion in IT! Where did you start your career? And, what professional decision or opportunity helped lead you to your current role?

During my studies at Technical University of Kosice, I met some amazing and passionate IT network guys who introduced me to computer networks. Before meeting them, I had almost zero knowledge about networking—the entire field was one big mystery to me. However, it blew me away the second I was exposed to networking. All I wanted to do was dig deeper into it, and I just fell in love with the field! From there, I decided to explore the Cisco Networking Academy program.

As it turned out, attaining the Cisco CCNA certification was actually ignition for my IT career. Thanks to my CCNA certification, I received a job offer from Deutsche Telekom. I was lucky because they were opening a new branch in Kosice, so I jumped at the chance and started as a Security Specialist. I realized that IT security, together with computer networks, is a perfect fit for my skillset. Since then, my roles have either been in the IT network or security-related sphere.

So, you’re currently working for Syntax Systems GmbH. How has partnering with Cisco helped your work both in your segment and industry?

Yes, that’s right. Before Syntax, I worked with Cisco devices, but never had the chance to meet nor be in touch with anyone from Cisco. This changed since joining Syntax. The company is a managed service provider, and provides services founded on Cisco infrastructure. My role there means that I work with security products, including deploying security tools at our customers’ sites and providing security consultancy services and maintenance. On every job, I strive to ensure that my work always meets our customers’ satisfaction. I can confidently say that these outcomes would not be possible without our collaboration with Cisco, where we work closely on each deployment to find the proper solution that fits the specific requirements that we or our customers have.

I enjoy working closely with Cisco colleagues. When I have a problem or question, I can always request help from Cisco’s engineers or managers. Every Cisco colleague I’ve worked with has always been very friendly and willing to help.

What’s been your biggest challenge in your company the past year, and how did you overcome it?

Our biggest challenge of 2021 was the deployment of the Cisco SASE solution, together with network analytic and EDR for a customer with more than 3,000 endpoints. Our main challenge was that the customer’s offices were spread all over the globe, in more than 20 locations. Many of these offices were not connected. This was particularly challenging, as the project required read-only access to independent management consoles on location. Another challenge was to secure roaming users. This was particularly important, as the IT landscape has changed drastically in the past few years. This “Zero Trust” approach is applied more and we needed to adopt this into our solution. Our final solution was built on Cisco’s Umbrella SIG and Cisco Secure Cloud Analytics with Cisco Secure Endpoints. We have a lot of experience with all of these products, so we were confident that we would be able to fulfill all requirements. And we did.

Wow, that sounds like a complex project! It’s so interesting to learn more about the deployment. Let’s move on to The Global Gateway! How would you describe this customer advocacy community to those who haven’t heard of it before?

It’s an awesome networking opportunity! As a member of The Gateway community, you can meet other like-minded members, play games, complete challenges, and get up-to-date product and industry information—all while earning rewards as a bonus. Above all, however, I value the access to exclusive content that includes private community events, opportunities for case studies, access to newly released Cisco products, beta testing, and so much more.

You’re one of our community Rockstars, and we really appreciate how long you’ve been in the community! What made you want to join The Global Gateway, and how has being part of this community impacted you both professionally and personally?

My Cisco sales representative invited me to join The Gateway community. As someone who is open to new experiences, I gave it a chance. I registered, completed several challenges, and suddenly I won a PS4, which was a complete shock to me!  It was like WOW, I am learning, having fun, and getting rewarded? That’s the best community ever!

I really like how The Gateway has evolved since I joined in 2018. There are many more channels, advocates, and social activities to take part in. Now we do not just click challenges, we are a group of people, talking and sharing insights. The Gateway is even a place I go to for wellness and health content. I am very happy and proud to be a member of The Gateway!

We’re grateful and proud to have such a passionate member like you, Marcel! We’re almost at the end of the interview and we’d love to finish with three things you can’t live without?

Oh, this is a really tricky question. Nowadays, I can’t imagine my life without:

  1. My cellphone with internet. Without it, it would be like living in the stone ages!
  2. My car. I drive even when I need to go just a few meters to the closest grocery shop.
  3. My bed. I would not be able to sleep properly without my trusty bed and mattress.

Thank you again for joining us, Marcel!

You are welcome, Rashik!


Read more customer advocate interviews

You might enjoy this interview with our Global Gateway customer advocate, Mark.


Join us in The Global Gateway

For our customers who have already joined us in The Global Gateway, say hello to Marcel if you haven’t met each other yet. And for those Cisco customers who haven’t yet joined The Global Gateway, consider doing so! You’ll be able to:

The Global Gateway customer advocacy community at Cisco
  • Connect with peers in a gamified, online community
  • Have an opportunity to meet with Cisco’s executives
  • Share your feedback, questions, and best practices
  • Get access to “insider” content and resources
  • Grow your professional and personal brand
  • Amplify your company’s success story with Cisco technology

Ready to get started? Head over to The Global Gateway and say hello!





Rashik Rahman

Global Advocacy Specialist

Global Advocacy - UK