by Justin Ramirez
As hybrid work environments become more common, Cisco Webex ecosystem ISV partners are showing up with real innovation to help businesses operate more efficiently and safely. And with more employees working remotely than ever before, further protecting them—and information—from cyber attacks has become a clear priority. Not only must companies help ensure that safeguards are in place to keep data safe as employees begin to return to the office, but they must also help ensure that meeting rooms and offices have been properly sanitized.
Four ISV partners, in particular, have made it a priority to help companies keep employees and intellectual property safe: Theta Lake, SingleWire, RedSky, and Appspace.
The work-from-anywhere movement has driven a significant increase in the use of expanded collaboration tools and diversified communication channels. This reliance has increased the risks corporations face around data privacy, sensitive data exposure, and employee conduct. It drives the need for a compliance solution that provides protection through visibility and compliance oversight across collaboration channels such as chat, video conferencing, and voice communications. This protection is especially important in regulated industries where there are strict retention and supervision requirements.
Theta Lake provides an answer that goes beyond overseeing text-based content and enables firms to capture, archive, analyze, and even remediate messages and documents shared across all forms of unified communications. Through native integrations, for example, Theta Lake keeps information secure by ingesting audio, video, and chat originated from Cisco Webex Teams, Cisco Webex Meetings, and Cisco Meeting Server (CMS). Theta Lake also captures recordings from Cisco devices joining Webex Meetings, such as Webex Board, and Webex room and desk collaboration devices.While video has become the new norm for meetings, it also presents the greatest risk of inappropriate sharing of confidential and sensitive information. Legacy compliance tools are limited in their ability to offer uniform compliance and security controls across visual, voice, and text-based content, as shown in Figure 1.
By integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning, Theta Lake provides deep supervision, data leakage detection, artificial intelligence-assisted workflow, long-term archiving, and e-discovery, enabling organizations to align their safety and compliance requirements while empowering their workforces to collaborate remotely.
Any organization’s most important asset is its people. Whether faced by severe weather, intruders, or a fire, you must have a system and procedures to protect them in case of an emergency. Singlewire’s InformaCast emergency notification solution gives you the power to keep everyone in a building informed—and even those working remotely—during a crisis.
Many organizations have closed or limited access to their normal facilities to comply with social distancing guidelines, creating a challenge for facility managers and security staff. Empty buildings are vulnerable to theft and damage that can further disrupt operations, and organizations need a way to alert remote facility and security staff that something may be wrong. SingleWire InformaCast can integrate with building control systems to identify unauthorized entry and report issues in seconds. Additionally, if a weather event or natural disaster might put employees at risk, notifications can be sent those located in the impacted area.
Mass notifications provided by InformaCast trigger automatic alerts to key remote team members in a variety of ways, as shown in Figure 2. This includes the ability to simultaneously bring key personnel into a dedicated emergency Cisco Webex Teams space as well as supporting multiple shared devices to manage emergency situations.
When an emergency occurs, the text, image, and audio of the emergency message is posted to the Webex Teams space. Members of a situation management team are automatically added to the space, enabling them to immediately receive notifications and respond. In this space, team members can view summary responses and send InformaCast messages to each other to keep everyone informed in real time.
In August 2019, the FCC adopted rules implementing Kari’s Law and Section 506 of RAY BAUM’s Act, both of which apply to multiline telephone systems (MLTS) and the handling of 911 calls. Kari’s Law requires that MLTS enable direct dialing 911 rather than a prefix. In addition, the MLTS location must receive notification of any 911 calls, including a call-back number and the location of the caller, in order to facilitate entry by first responders. RAY BAUM’s Act requires that a dispatch-able location be provided during a 911 call, such as the floor of a building the caller is calling from RedSky gives MLTS customers the tools they need to be 100 percent compliant with state and federal 911 regulations, and it integrates with legacy and unified communications platforms. This includes being certified with Cisco collaboration products, such as Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM), Cisco Emergency Responder (CER), Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), Cisco BroadWorks, and Webex Calling, to provide 911 protection.
To be compliant with these new regulations, customers can deploy the RedSky Horizon Mobility offering to all Webex endpoints in the U.S. and Canada—whether on premises, off premises, on a hard phone, or on a soft phone. For example, if an employee has a Webex calling client on their tablet and is walking across campus, 911 location data is automatically updated every time a connection is made to a new Wi-Fi access point. This includes automatically updating a list of enterprise subscribers to notify if the employee should place a 911 call from that tablet. (See Figure 3.)
As employees return to the office, it’s clear that the hybrid workplace is here to stay, because businesses are giving employees the flexibility to work from anywhere. However, with this flexibility comes a challenge: how to keep everyone informed and collaborating productively, no matter where they’re working.
To help address this challenge, Appspace—especially when paired with Cisco Webex technology—provides simple-to-use communication and space management tools that can be accessed from any device and any location. (See Figure 4.)
A Cisco Webex Board running the Appspace app, for example, can simplify employee communications and improve engagement. Employees can easily access information such as corporate news and content, human resource feeds, product updates, and safety recommendations. They can also interact with the content directly by using the voice command in the Webex assistant or by physically interacting with the kiosk.
Appspace and Cisco can also help with visitor management. A visitor to a building can sign in, wirelessly print their temp badge, find their meeting contact in the building, get the name of the designated meeting room, and access a map to the room—all without contact from a receptionist.
Space reservation and occupancy status also become much easier to administer using a Webex Navigator touch device running the Appspace app outside a meeting room. And if the meeting room is equipped with a Cisco Webex Room Kit, the Appspace app can provide critical information such as compliance with occupancy guidelines, availability of other rooms if occupancy exceeds guidelines, relevant company information, and even room air quality.
To help bridge the gap between home and the office, the Appspace Employee App allows employees to view company messages as well as reserve rooms, desks, and other workspaces from their desk or mobile devices.
Cisco partners extend Webex platform capabilities
Keeping people and the data they work with safe is critical—regardless of whether they’re in the office or at home. As a foundational element of today’s workflow, a collaboration platform such as Webex offers a powerful tool to meet this challenge. But even though Webex provides the most powerful collaboration platform with the broadest capabilities in the market, customers can look to Cisco ISV partners such as those I’ve mentioned in this post to extend these capabilities and provide added value.