LOS ANGELES: Cisco has created a dedicated cloud platform for its collaboration products, in the latest expansion of the firm’s efforts to broaden its footprint in the cloud market.
The Cisco Collaboration Cloud platform is already hosting the firm’s new Project Squared app, unveiled on Monday, and its WebEx and Jabber services will be migrated in due course too, likely to be around spring next year.
Currently the Collaboration Cloud is run out of two Cisco data centres, but it will eventually integrate with Cisco’s own InterCloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering.
This will enable customers to select the location and hosting type – private, public or hybrid – of their collaboration tools.
Hendrik Blokhuis EMEA chief technology officer for Cisco, said the fusion of the these two platforms would offer customers several benefits.
“It will enable customers to run workload instances virtually in local datacenters, which can address privacy issues, something that is an issue for many businesses in Europe,” he said.
“It also means that developers can host and build apps on the platform and keep iterating and pushing out these products.”
Cisco has added end-to-end encryption to the platform. This means messages sent on Project Squared are encrypted. This could also prove a selling point to businesses by ensuring security of content being shared over the cloud platform.
Shaun Cooley, distinguished engineer for the Collaboration Technology Group at Cisco Systems and formerly of Symantec, has worked on the development of the encryption system, and said that it was vital given the threats firms now face.
“The landscape is changing and attacks are being more pervasive. We are seeing lots of issues with people being hacked and data bought, stolen and traded,” he said.
“From a technology standpoint we realised we had to address this so security becomes the only option, not an option in the platform, that then may or may not be installed or turned on, usually because it’s too complicated.”
Cisco has worked to address this, Cooley said, by creating a new way to create keys that are used to encrypt the data. It works by placing the creation of the keys in a seperate part of the system to the Collaboration Cloud. This means the cloud platform never has access to data that is not encrypted, as the keys are entirely seperate.
Cisco has also published a research paper on this work on the The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) website in an effort to encourage more firms to adopt this way of generating keys to help encrypt data.