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Collaboration and security dominate Cisco Live agenda

Cisco rolls out enhancements that should appeal to partners working with customers on maintaining secure collaboration during the Covid-19 pandemic

Cisco has heralded the enhancements that have been made to its Webex collaboration platform and underlined the opportunity that the channel has to help customers looking for secure productivity tools.

The vendor kicked off its virtual Cisco Live event with collaboration and security taking centre stage, with both being seen as crucial during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cisco has seen the use of its video-conferencing tools explode in the past few months as the virus has spread globally and more countries introduced lockdown, with three times the usual volume of traffic and 4.5 million virtual meetings every day.

Webex enhancements include increased data loss prevention retention tools to make sure that content that is recorded and transcribed gets further protection. The firm has also boosted analytics options with the Webex Control Hub so that meeting room usage can be monitored and those needing to book in cleaning around sessions have the timings to do that.

As workers have headed away from closed offices to their homes, the need for security has also risen, and the vendor has used Live to issue updates on that front.

Cisco will make its SecureX offering available from the end of June, including with it all of its security products to make management easier for customers with increased visibility and automation

Angela Whitty, managing director for partner sales at Cisco UK&I, said that the past few months had seen huge increases in the use of Webex, and it was making sure that partners could reassure their customers around both performance and security.

“The corporate HQ isn’t a building anymore as it expands to people’s homes,” she said, adding that a lot of workers had now settled into a work-life balance that incorporated video communications.

Many in the industry are trying to predict what the “new normal” will look like, with the continuation of high levels of remote working being among most predictions. Whitty said that Cisco had been promoting collaboration tools through the channel for years, but the current situation had given more users a taste of what was possible.

“The use of video technology is not going to go away anytime soon,” she added. “It does help organisations to scale and they can be more productive.”

Cisco has been supporting partners throughout the Covid crisis and has pushed back certifications for a year and individual certifications by six months. There has also been financing made available for partners and their customers.

The vendor has been offering support for those resellers looking to hold their own virtual events, for up to 5,000 attendees, for free to make sure they can also keep reaching out to customers.

Whitty said that the channel had proved its value in the past few months: “I’ve seen partners do some really great things with customers and employees.”

She added that the channel community had pulled together and worked on projects including the Nightingale Hospital and helping to set up a medical call centre that would have normally taken months in just 48 hours.

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