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Remote Work Culture: What Does Cisco Have To Say?

With the pandemic multiplying at a rocket speed, companies have switched over to working from homes. Cisco had adopted this practice long ago, and has been implementing various other technical processes too...

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Working remotely or Working From Home seems to be the new mantra now in the IT space. While the initial situation seemed dicey, however people have expressed their ecstasy with due course of time. Express Computer has been reaching out to IT firms, to gain an understanding of their way of operations.

For today we have Dharmendra Rangain, CIO, Cisco India and SAARC. In an e-interaction with Express Computer’s Gairika Mitra, Rangain takes us through an inside journey.

Edited excerpts:

How is Cisco adapting to the new remote working culture?

Remote working is not new to Cisco. We were among the early adopters of flexible timings and now provide the work-from-anywhere option to over 80% of our workforce. However, with most of our employees now working from home to mitigate risk, Cisco’s IT efforts are focused on ensuring that we have the necessary infrastructure in place to enable this transformation at scale. This includes:

a) Basic Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity

b) Collaboration tools such as email, Webex for meetings and instant messaging

c) Access to business-critical applications in Sales, Supply Chain, Engineering, and Customer Experience to continue serving customers

d) Finally, any complex use cases that we need to cater to during these unprecedented times – One example is the recent relaxation of the Department of Telecommunications guidelines that allows our contact center employees to work from home. We made it possible internally by leveraging our technologies with an amendment to existing policies.

We are also encouraging our employees to communicate regularly with each other, leveraging our technology to bring us together and keep us connected.

While we have always encouraged working from anywhere, these are the times when employee engagement becomes crucial. So, to keep everyone’s spirits high, Cisco’s in-house band will be playing to a live internal audience over Webex; during some virtual meetings, employees are encouraged to wear their favorite hats!

What kind of collaboration tools and technologies is Cisco adopting for continuity of workflow during the coronavirus outbreak?

Webex Meetings and Webex Teams have been instrumental in keeping our employees safe while ensuring business continuity. Scrum calls, file sharing, and other processes our engineers have established help make the transition much easier. In addition, Cisco’s leadership team is effectively leveraging our engagement platforms, like Cisco TV, to reach out to employees globally. 

We are also hosting some of our events virtually over Webex, thus mitigating the risk of infection. One of our biggest events, ‘Cisco Live APJC’, will be held virtually. 

To support businesses in making the shift to working from home, we have expanded our capabilities on Webex and extended free licenses for key security technologies. We are also working towards enabling schools, colleges, and medical facilities to connect remotely while partnering closely with our customers who are rapidly scaling their work-from-home efforts.

How does Cisco Umbrella protect users from malicious internet destinations, whether they are on or off the network?

Umbrella handles all the DNS queries from the client devices. Based on Talos intelligence, we are able to detect and block malicious sites, which in turn prevents an attack on the endpoints when they are not on a secure intranet. Cisco Umbrella services are delivered via the cloud, making it easy to protect users everywhere, in any location, and on any device. This was one of the fastest deployments of a security solution in a complex environment. We are also supporting our existing customers to accommodate an increase in remote workers; new customers can access free licenses. 

Could you acquaint us with Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client?

Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client enables employees to work from anywhere on company laptops or personal mobile devices in a secure manner. In addition to basic VPN connectivity, AnyConnect is used for other such critical functions as verifying security posture of the endpoint when connecting to a corporate network, network visibility, etc. It also provides visibility and control security to identify who and which devices are accessing their infrastructure.

How does it empower employees to work from anywhere on company laptops or personal mobile devices?

Cisco allows users to bring their own devices to work. Whether it’s a company-provided laptop, a desktop, or a user-owned device, certain IT security protocols have to be followed. We use various tools to make sure devices are not compromised. It’s a delicate balance between enhanced user experience and security – we finetune various solutions to provide the best user experience possible without compromising on security. Along with AnyConnect, we use other solutions like Cisco Duo for Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA); Meraki System Manager to manage and enforce policies on Mobile Device (MDM); Cisco AMP for End Point to protect devices (EPP and EDR), and Cisco Identify Service Engine for network access policy enforcement. We have created multiple layers of defense, not only on the endpoint but also on the network. All of this enables robust security practices and helps implement a zero-trust model, and decreases the attack surface while reducing risk.  


If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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