Q. What is the "post-PC era" about, and how does "cloud-based" collaboration map into that landscape?
A. In the post-PC era actual location does not matter. Traditional office software approaches are insufficient in this post-PC world - where users are accustomed to handling multiple operating systems and a multitude of mobile devices. In this era the ability to reach out and collaborate anywhere, anytime is an inherent part of daily life, not a function performed at the desktop. Cloud-based collaboration provides the framework that allows for anywhere, anytime interaction with connections to the Internet available almost everywhere. Two major technology trends have enabled this new work style while embracing the traditional IT landscape: cloud-based applications and smart mobile devices.
Q. What is different about the Cisco approach to cloud-based collaboration?
A. It is built around a proven enterprise-grade solution that works transparently with a wide choice of devices. It is a solution based on the Cisco WebEx® Cloud - a highly secure software-as-a-service (SaaS) service delivery platform with proven scalability and high availability. It supports nearly 2 billion meeting minutes per month between 32 million participants in 231 countries.
Q. Effective collaboration is important, but how does Cisco's approach affect my profitability?
A. The Cisco WebEx Cloud is inherently cost-effective precisely because it is cloud-based. Cisco deploys and maintains the entire environment. Not you. You save money by reducing travel and being more productive anytime, anywhere. In addition, cloud-based services provide cost savings by being handled as operating expenses (OpEx) rather than capital expenditures (CapEx).
Q. My company has operations and partners all around the globe - in Sidney, Beijing, Los Angeles, New York City, Sao Paolo, and Milan. How does Cisco's approach support our situation?
A. The Cisco WebEx Cloud contains multiple Internet points of presence (iPoPs) and data centers throughout the world to minimize delay and maximize performance - far more than many other SaaS operations. This paradigm allows your company to offer high-quality business interactions to more employees, partners, customers, and experts.
Another benefit of this intelligent network design is continuous service availability. All traffic is globally load-balanced between servers and switches throughout the cloud. Traffic is automatically copied to a physically separate node in a geographically distant data center using global site backup.
Q. How can you ensure that our communications remain confidential?
A. The Cisco WebEx Cloud employs the most stringent security measures currently possible into every layer of its architecture. Security measures include locked-down data center operations, end-to-end data encryption, user authentication, and highly granular administrator policy control. Annual third-party audits validate these measures for compliance with rigorous industry standards. For more information, read the white paper "Unleash the Power of Highly Secure, Real-Time Collaboration".
Q. What makes Cisco a compelling choice from a user's point of view?
A. In short, the combination of flexibility and capability. Applications that run on the Cisco WebEx Cloud are designed to support multiple styles of interaction in a productive manner - including real-time voice, videoconferencing to the desktop, instant messaging (IM) and presence, and social media - using a wide array of supported devices. Participants can interact with each other off line in shared workspaces, and meetings can be recorded for playback by people who cannot attend a live session.
Q. What tools are available to our in-house IT team?
A. The key benefit in this regard is the cloud environment itself. Although IT administrators do have the benefit of full access to a wide range of real-time administration and reporting tools to keep the service running smoothly, the primary advantage of the Cisco WebEx Cloud solution is the significant reduction in the requirements for in-house IT support.
Q. What should I be thinking about when looking to deploy cloud-based collaboration?
A. Every situation is different, but the following considerations are critical when evaluating a cloud-based collaboration solution for your business:
• High availability and resilience: Users should be able to initiate or join a collaboration session on demand at any time, 24 hours a day, without a prior appointment or a subscriber account, and with no risk of data loss.
• Scalability: The system should be able to scale from a single account to thousands of simultaneous users running video, and to respond to spikes in demand automatically so that users do not notice any interruption or degradation.
• Performance: All users should be able to participate fully in the interaction with clear audio and high-quality video; they should be able to see each other as well as documents that they share, optimized for their particular devices and locations.
• Security: Security should be built into every layer of the solution, from user authentication through encryption of data in flight, to multitenant isolation and the physical data center, with granular policy control.
• User productivity: Because users' collaboration needs vary throughout the day depending on their roles, locations, and participation, they should be able to invoke multiple capabilities as desired in a productive environment without swapping tools, from a choice of mobile or fixed devices.
• Offline productivity: Users should be able to interact off line and work on shared documents outside the live session, and nonattendees should be able to view a high-quality recording in order to extend productivity and value to as many people as possible.
• Investment protection: The solution should not disrupt normal operations and should integrate into the existing IT infrastructure at multiple levels, such as office systems, business applications, telephony, networking, identity and security policies, and so on.
• Vendor maturity and vision: Collaboration should be viewed as a competitive business asset, so it requires careful evaluation of the supplier's ability to invest in maintaining an industry-leading portfolio, worldwide support, and commitment to your success.
Q. Where can I get more details about those concerns and how Cisco solutions compare?
A. Numerous resources are available at Cisco.com to help you understand the role of Cisco's cloud-based tools in building a sustainable, enterprisewide collaboration environment.