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Cisco: Collaborate without compromise

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Garsen Naidu, country manager,  Cisco South Africa.
Garsen Naidu, country manager, Cisco South Africa.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world, and with it, the way we work, in ways very few could have anticipated. A 'new normal' has been accepted by thousands of remote workers who at one time met in conference rooms.

Today, the world is completely online, and businesses across the board have had to employ collaboration tools to manage the process. However, remote working has also exposed users to security threats, and businesses have to do everything in their power to ensure business continuity and keep employees and business secure.

During a Webex conference yesterday, Garsen Naidu, Cisco South Africa’s country manager said it took Cisco 10 days to move its operations remotely. “It's not an easy process to take hundreds of thousands of people, including employees and our partners, and enable them to work from home via many thousands of devices.”

The first thing the company did, was to ensure secure connectivity. 

“On top of that, we began working on collaboration tools. It's quite interesting when you look at the collaboration stats, and how the way we work has changed. We've seen a 30% increase in instant messaging, and a 25% increase in video calls, file sharing and electronic white-boarding. Our Webex platform, for example, has had double the number of attendees. It has transformed the way we work, and we are being productive.”

Another thing that this has done for Cisco, he says, is drive human connection. 

“As we work from home, we must value the interaction that we have. This secure human connection was built on a secure collaboration platform, and we found ourselves in a situation where our teams are now having trivia hours, they're having happy hours, they're having singing groups are having exercise classes as an organisation. Cisco is has put together exercise classes, around the world at different time slots, that individuals can join via our collaboration technology.”

In SA, Garsen says he used to host what he calls ‘pizza Fridays’. “It was a time where we came together as an organisation, and shared anecdotes about things we're doing in the organisation, and also how Cisco is evolving. We could learn from each other and collaborate, over pizzas in the office. Last Friday when we hosted a virtual pizza Friday, it was interesting to see that people were making their own pizzas at home and sharing the pictures of that while we went through this process. We have managed to continue these things that we enjoy, and that help us within our organisations help us to be productive, and also found that we are getting to know our people better.”

Speaking of the company’s ‘collaboration without compromise’, Garsen says Cisco builds security into everything it does, and across all of its products. 

“We have what we call a secure Cisco secure development lifecycle. It's a repeatable process born of our many years in the industry, and ensures that our engineers design and develop according to a methodology. Our collaboration tools are as secure as our security tools as they both have the same foundation in place. Security is fundamental.”

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