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Webex technology ecosystem – The gold standard for video conference experiences with Webex Devices

Overview 

With so many 3rd party integration options in the video conference marketit can be hard to know at a glance what the best product integration is. What are the best room booking applications out there? What is the best LCD display that works well with Webex Devices? 

Here in Oslo, Norway, not only do we have Red Dot award-winning devices, we are also building the best meeting experiences through our new Webex Technology Ecosystem program – technically certifying partner integrations for Webex Devices. Our open platform allows our technology partners to create integrations to the Webex Platform to best solve customer use-cases. In order to provide the highest levels of security and best end-user experiences, the Webex Technology Ecosystem Program was created to validate third parties that their integration is adhering to our security, user experience, and supported API methods. In addition, the benefits of certifications include an online community and Cisco product team support, validated tests done by a 3rd party firm, AVDR, and overall helping drive down integration costs. 

We launched two logo tier designations to certifications:    

  • Webex Certified  A third party solution that has achieved the most stringent of all testing by the Webex Device Business Unit. 
  • Webex Compatible – A third party solution that meets the minimum requirements for integration.

Moving forward, there will also be a third-tier for certification which will be a self-supported knowledge base community that will soon launch on the Cisco Webex Communities portal.   

Cisco approved products & vendors 

Below you will find the solutions that have achieved certification status. Currently, there are only two Certified categories: Displays and Intelligent Workplaces. The other categories will only have Compatible logo status. As we progress, we aim at adding more categories and technology partner solutions to the Certified logo. 

Webex Device certified and compatible categories 

  • Cameras 
  • Content Experiences 
  • Collaborative Workplace 
  • Displays* 
  • Easy Join Services 
  • Intelligent Workplace* 
  • Room Booking 
  • Team Communications 
  • Workplace Analytics 

*Webex Certified logo categories 

Some of the partner solutions shown are also part of the Cisco Solutions Plus partnership program.  If you want to know more details of the certified partner solutions and categories, please visit: http://cs.co/certifiedvendors 

Certification process 

Below is the certification application journey for the Webex Technology Ecosystem for Webex Devices. As you can see it is a multi-step process to onboard. 

If you are a vendor seeking to join the Webex Technology Ecosystem program, please visit this link. 


Additional Resources 

For Customers:
Cisco Webex Integration Partners
https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collaboration/webex-rooms-integrations.html
Webex Devices Certification Vendor List
https://cs.co/certifiedvendors

For 3rd Party Vendors:
Webex Devices Certification Application
http://cs.co/webexcertapplication
Webex for Startups Program
http://cs.co/webexforstartups
Developer Resources
https://developer.cisco.com/site/roomdevices
https://developer.webex.com 

Resources

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AllNewWebex
Continuing the momentum with the All New Webex

In December we introduced the all-new Webex to the world. Designed to deliver inclusive collaboration experiences that are 10x better than in-person interactions, Webex empowers work – where ever it happens – over a platform with integrated security, intelligence, and insights built-in, not bolted on.

Cisco’s purpose is to power an inclusive future for all and with Webex, we’re continuing to break down barriers that keep us apart, giving everyone an equal voice to achieve greater productivity and more engaged relationships. With the future of work being hybrid, we believe we achieve more when diverse ideals and workstyles comes together and everyone can contribute equally, fully, and as their authentic selves.

There’s so much more to the all-new Webex, and we’re excited to share the news with the world. Launched last week, we rolled out a new campaign celebrating the inclusiveness of collaboration with Webex. You can see our ads on broadcast TV, on-demand, online, and on social:

  • NBA on TNT; 9 games with 2 spots on each game, including the Warriors!
  • CNN Headline News
  • Roku and Amazon Fire
  • Across the Disney network including ESPN, HULU, ABC, National Geographic, FX, and all NBC properties.

And for basketball fans, following is a tentative schedule for the NBA games (all times ET) where our commercial will run:

  • Thursday, 1/14 – Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets 10:00 PM
  • Monday, 1/18
    • Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies 5:00 PM
    • Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets 7:30 PM
    • Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers 10:00 PM
  • Thursday, 1/21
    • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks 7:30 PM
    • New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz 10:00 PM

True collaboration is an inclusive experience, and as we learned in 2020, finding ways to come together has never been more important. Webex enables secure inclusive experiences so that we can contribute and create fully no matter how, when or where we work together – helping to accelerate outcomes, and just get stuff done. Our work isn’t done – we’re continuing to innovate every day, and finding more and better ways to stay connected.

And try the all new Webex for free, today.

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It’s all in the new Webex

Welcome to the All New Webex

What’s new in Webex: December 2020

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It's all in the new Webex
It’s all in the new Webex

Cisco Webex just announced an all new Webex: the next generation collaboration platform. What does this mean? And more specifically, what does this mean for you?

The 10x experience

In the opening keynote at WebexOne on December 8, Jeetu Patel, GM of Security and Applications at Cisco announced the all new Webex—one easy-to-use and secure app to call, message, meet, and get work done.

The all new Webex aims to create an experience that is 10 times better than in-person interactions. You may be asking yourself, is this even possible?

Let’s dive into this.

Inclusive by design

This year brought a lot of change to the way we work, forcing millions to adjust to working from home. Office doors were closed for extended periods of time, and as some have opened or are planning to re-open, the big question being asked is “what will the future of work look like?”

As we’ve seen this year, the future is unpredictable. But we’re fairly confident that remote work will continue to be a large part of the new work normal. As a result, the way we collaborate virtually needs to advance even further—beyond just video conferencing and screen sharing—giving everyone an equal opportunity to participate no matter where they are or how they communicate.

Webex is built for enhanced virtual interactions. It’s built to bring everyone in, allow every voice to be heard, and break barriers to communication, regardless of geography, personality type, or language preference. New meeting templates will allow you to choose how, when, and how long you meet, ensuring all attendees get a chance to speak. And real time closed captioning with language translations in 10 different languages will remove communication barriers. Simply put, Webex is designed to make sure everyone is included.

Changing the way you work

Today, we need to be able to work anywhere, at any time. With a single, consistent collaboration experience, you’ll be able to work quickly and efficiently, from anywhere in the world. Here’s how.

With combined meeting, messaging, and calling, Webex is able to connect people faster and easier than ever before while allowing for both synchronous and asynchronous communication.

Send messages 1:1 or to a group. If you need to share a document or hop on a call, you can do it, too. All in the same place.

What’s more, you can even personalize the entire experience. Change your color pallet, background, and photos. New video layouts let you set your own stage, showing as many or as few participants, and placing them in a view that works for you. And soon, AI-enabled in-meeting reactions will allow you to immediately express yourself non-verbally using emojis and natural gestures.

The all-new Webex will bring to life the magic and power of productive, engaging and fun teamwork.

Creating a smarter experience

The all new Webex is designed with built-in intelligence and machine learning that are revolutionizing the way we work. From integrations with Outlook, Google, Box, and more, to personalized meeting experiences and automated tasks, your meetings will become more productive than ever.

We also know that not everyone has access to a home office and meetings can take place anywhere. Your meetings will benefit from noise removal and speech enhancement technology. This means those unwanted sounds that creep into meetings (like a vacuum cleaner or lawn mower) will be detected and removed without you having to mute—a way better experience than an in-person meeting with distracting background noise.

At the end of the day, the all new Webex wants to bring people together to do exceptional work, while creating an equal opportunity for everyone. We are excited about this launch and look forward to hearing how Webex changes the way you work and makes your interactions 10x better than in-person.

To learn more, including Cisco Webex’s intent to acquire Slido, check out Abhay Kulkarni’s blog here.

You can also watch a rich library of on-demand sessions from WebexOne, here.

And try the all new Webex for free, today.

Learn more

Welcome to the All New Webex

What’s new in Webex: December 2020

Webex App Hub: The Premier Collaboration App Ecosystem To Help You Get Stuff Done

What’s So NEW about the All New Webex?

Enabling Smart Hybrid Work Experiences — For Everyone, Anywhere

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man on a computer in his living room
How to co-edit using screen sharing

What do you most closely associate with screen sharing?

Perhaps the inescapable phrase, “Can everyone see my screen?” is the first thing to spring to mind, or maybe you recall all the slide deck walk-throughs you sat through in the past. But with the right software, screen sharing can be much more convenient and versatile than either of those associations would imply.

In a screen sharing solution, you can also synchronously coedit documents, which is a major upgrade from the old back-and-forth of exchanging emails and navigating through tracked changes. By taking advantage of the real-time collaboration features of screen sharing software, workers in and out of the office can more easily get on the same page, understand feedback, and produce an agreed-upon version of the assets in question.

How does coediting work on a screen share platform?

Screen sharing is a great opportunity for all participants in the session to see and contribute to a document at the same time. The workflow itself will vary based on the platform being used, but generally the process is pretty straightforward:

  1. The presenter pulls up a text document, spreadsheet, presentation, or other asset (e.g., a code repository) on their device.
  2. They then share it with the others in the meeting, either by sharing their entire screen or just that particular piece of content.
  3. The presenter can take feedback from viewers on what needs to be changed or added. Alternatively, multiple participants can pull up the same document, like a file in SharePoint Online or Google Drive, and work on it in parallel during the meeting.
  4. After the screen share session ends, the meeting organizer can send a recording of it to everyone. They can also re-share the edited document in a messaging channel such as Webex Teams and, with the right permissions enabled, have it open in an appropriate application for further work.

In some cases, a team may choose only to perform the fourth step, opting to do all edits outside of a dedicated meeting with a screen share session. However, there are some distinct advantages to setting up a screen share, especially as more workers begin operating outside of traditional corporate offices.

Why should you use a screen share for coediting?

Screen sharing isn’t just for presenting or lecturing. As a form of real-time collaboration, it’s also a great forum for exchanging ideas and implementing feedback. Let’s dig into some of the specific reasons for editing via a free screen share:

Fewer runarounds and delays

We mentioned emails and documents with tracked changes earlier, as both are staples of most modern editing workflows. Even when someone makes a small update to a shared Google Doc, for instance, contributors usually find out via an email. Keeping track of everything can be taxing. McKinsey & Company has estimated that professionals spend 28% of their time each week on email.

Screen sharing can simplify the editing workflow, in turn reducing the amount of email to sort through. Meeting participants can see the latest changes and suggestions being made in real time and ask questions on the spot, instead of needing to request clarification later or search their inbox for the right version to follow.

Integrated audio and video

Sometimes it can feel like you’re stuck or at a loss for how to proceed with a document, whether it’s a heavily edited version of a PDF or something like a repository of computer code in need of some big updates. This situation can lead to setting up a separate call to go through the next steps — but why not eliminate this extra stage and get direct guidance while you have your collaborators on the line?

In a screen share, you can do more than just share content. You can also interact via high-quality audio and video, allowing for more nuanced communications than email exchanges would ever enable. The integrated video, audio, and content sharing in a platform like Webex makes it easier to avoid subsequent rounds of edits and costly miscommunications.

An officelike experience from any location

Opening up a document to begin applying edits or comments, or to accept or reject someone else’s, can feel very impersonal. If you’re working remotely, it can seem like you’re on an island, far removed from what everyone else is thinking and doing.

Indeed, loneliness is a frequently cited challenge among telecommuters, being at the top of the list of remote work challenges in a 2020 Buffer survey. But with a screen share, workers can feel like they’re all together collaborating in the same space, even if they’re still physically far apart:

  • The screen share itself can simulate the feeling of a presentation or conference room discussion.
  • The high-quality audio allows participants to discuss feedback and changes as they happen.
  • Video can allow for additional clarity, for example in the form of a visual demo or simply through a presenter’s body language and reactions.

Upgrade your screen sharing experience

Screen sharing is a versatile mode of collaboration, with utility far beyond the standard slide-based presentation.

Get started with Webex for free today

Learn more

Screen sharing how-to guide: Tips for better real-time collaboration

Personalize your team meetings with these top four screen sharing features

Why screen sharing works better for sales than traditional conference calls

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Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

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Best Practices: How to Work Remotely [Live Class]

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grade school teacher on video conferencing
Institutional telework guidelines to consider for educators

The current state of the world has dramatically changed how educators deliver lessons and interact with their students. Because the traditional in-person classroom is suddenly, and at least temporarily, a high-risk environment for virus transmission, virtual alternatives such as video conferencing have received renewed attention for learning.

Running a virtual classroom is not inherently easy. For many students and instructors, distance learning is a major adjustment and very different from how they normally operate. What can teachers do to make the new experience as accessible and productive as possible for everyone involved? Let’s look at five basic tips for getting started.

1) Create guidelines for video conferencing use

First things first: Select one video conferencing platform and stick to it. With numerous options out there, it’s easy for participants to become accustomed to a certain feature set, even if it’s not the easiest one to use or the most secure. Conversely, jumping between different platforms on a regular basis can be disorienting and productivity-draining. Settling on a single platform is ideal.

Some jurisdictions have already drawn up lists of video conferencing platforms deemed acceptable for K-12 educational use. Check these guidelines first. If nothing is currently recommended, evaluate the widely available options for performance, security, and ease of use, and select an option that students can easily access.

From there, the next steps involve setting more granular policies on how the video solution should be used, including guidance for faculty and students on:

  • Use cases for group as well as one-on-one scenarios.
  • The expected time commitment each day or week.
  • Any requirements for attire or background imagery.
  • Rules on recording and distributing the session afterward.

grade school kid doing remote learning

2) Take all feasible security precautions

Video conference solutions have become more prominent targets of cyberattacks over time. This trend makes sense, considering the rising usage of these platforms and the sensitive data often exchanged on them, including in educational contexts.

One common form of video conference-oriented attack is for someone to join a meeting with a public meeting ID and no security controls, and then proceed to disrupt the call. Fortunately, there are some reliable precautions for preventing these scenarios:

  • First, do not share a meeting ID, PIN, or other key identifying piece of information on a public forum, such as social media or a personal email account, if possible.
  • Require a password every meeting. Some platforms may provide automatic password enforcement for certain types of joining, but make sure you cover all possible routes.
  • Get familiar with meeting controls. For example, if someone is introducing a lot of background noise or otherwise disrupting the session, know how to mute their audio.
  • Make sure the platform itself has adequate built-in security capabilities, such as end-to-end encryption and reliance on well-secured data centers.

3) Be careful with recording in particular and privacy in general

Remote learning via video conference brings the classroom directly into students’ homes, which has big implications for their privacy. Students and their parents/guardians should have the ability to opt out of being recorded or on camera. Moreover, it may be prudent to record conversations only when students have their own audio muted and video turned off.

Done properly, recording a lesson can be useful for helping students return to classroom materials later on, such as when preparing for an exam or doing an assignment. On Webex, you can also edit your recording before distributing it, to make it more engaging and easier to follow.

child girl is engaged in dancing, aerobics in online video chat with laptop, girl dancing in front of laptop camera.concept of remote sports and dancing in children, children's sports sections online.

4) Follow meeting etiquette and encourage students to do the same

Running a smooth video conference takes some practice, especially in the context of a K-12 virtual classroom in which students are still adjusting to online learning. The best practices for each instructor and their classes will vary, but a few generally reliable tips include:

  • Lock the video focus on the instructor so that it doesn’t change when someone else becomes the active speaker.
  • Encourage participants to go on mute when not speaking, or mute them yourself if they don’t know how.
  • Use headphones or earbuds with a built-in microphone to improve audio quality.
  • Allow attendees to turn off their cameras (and show them how) if they don’t need video at the moment.

5) Take advantage of other features for collaboration

Video conferencing platforms are much more than ways to see other meeting participants on camera. They also come with high-quality audio (via VoIP, which is crisper than a traditional phone call) and features such as instant messaging and screen sharing.

It’s important to know how to leverage these capabilities without letting them distract students and detract from the meeting’s focus. Screen sharing in particular can be helpful for keeping everyone engaged – you can show a slide presentation or other document, play videos and animations, or conduct a walkthrough of a key workflow on screen.

Video-led learning is still in its early days overall. Gradually, K-12 educators will likely come up with more uniform best practices for how to effectively reach students, respect their privacy, and provide meaningful instruction even outside a conventional classroom environment.

Cisco Webex can be a central piece in the tele-education puzzle. Learn more by getting started with a free offer today.

Additional Resources

Learn more hybrid learning tips from teachers, for teachers

The Future of Education

Webex Integration Partners join Cisco in offers for education

Experience the new Webex for Education – Simple and secure out-of-the-box

Blackboard Learn and Webex join forces to expand the reach of education

Education resources

What is distance learning?

Welcome to virtual learning

Cisco Webex Education Connector

Cisco Education Home Page

Join our live classes

Webex Teams: Ramping up for Virtual Education

Webex Meetings: Ramping Up for Virtual Education

Webex Meetings: Ramping Up for a Virtual Education

What’s New in Webex Teams November Release

What’s New in Webex Meetings 40.12

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What’s new in Webex: November 2020

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

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Healthcare and cyber security
What healthcare providers should do this National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Challenges for healthcare providers

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) each year in the U.S. The 2020 edition is the 17th annual NCSAM, and although it continues a long tradition of attempting to boost public awareness of common threats — this year’s theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart”* — it’s also an occasion unlike any of its predecessors, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The stakes for effective cybersecurity have risen dramatically as a result of the outbreak, as more day-to-day work has moved beyond traditional corporate campuses and into remote workspaces. End-users connecting to company applications from personal devices still need the robust security protections and dependable performance they got in the office, except now within the scaled-down IT environment of the home — a tricky needle to thread without solutions such as SD-WAN and secure video and audio conferencing in place.

Telework for healthcare workers

For healthcare workers in particular, the overall challenge of telework is even tougher. Applicable U.S. regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) complicate the flow of information between remote sites. Moreover, the healthcare sector as a whole has historically been slow to take up remote work due to a combination of practical considerations related to patient care, liability considerations, and technological limitations.

However, these hurdles can be overcome with the right combination of tools and strategy.

What remote work challenges do healthcare workers face?

Hospitals, physician offices, clinics, and other healthcare providers must deliver high-quality care while keeping everyone as safe as possible. That, in turn, requires mitigating a variety of risks related to remote work, including:

HIPAA compliance

As the initial pandemic grew, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights relaxed its enforcement of HIPAA noncompliance penalties* for activities such as video conferencing. Still, this was a temporary and discretionary measure. In the long term, healthcare organizations will need to balance the flexibility of remote work with the strictures of HIPAA, particularly when delivering telehealth services.

Healthcare providers must still comply with HIPAA regardless of where their workforces are actually located. In the past, organizations have been found liable for HIPAA violations related to the improper disclosure of protected health information (PHI) by remote workers, according to a Middle Tennessee State University professor interviewed by Relias Media. Avoiding these penalties requires assiduously tracking and controlling who has remote access to critical systems, which brings us to our next issue.*

Remote telehealth worker

Technology

More remote work means heavier utilization of virtual private network (VPN) licenses for secure access. All VPNs in use by a healthcare organization should be scaled to meet current usage, as well as properly updated and patched. Chances are that any existing VPN implementation will need to be greatly expanded and more carefully managed than in the past.

Likewise, the expansion of both remote work sites and temporary facilities (e.g., outdoor tent deployments) by healthcare providers means that their WANs must handle more traffic than ever before, and from a wider variety of locations and clients. Additional infrastructure and bandwidth may be needed, alongside a possible upgrade to an SD-WAN architecture that delivers performance and security far beyond what a conventional MPLS WAN offers. Check out more information on Video conference with security you can trust

Cybersecurity

Speaking of security, healthcare organizations have always been among the most common targets of cyberattacks, and the shift to telecommuting has only worsened this long-standing problem. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which sponsors NCSAM, identified the rise of advanced persistent threats* looking to harvest sensitive data from providers.

With more systems hosted in the cloud and remotely accessible via an Internet Protocol network, measures such as two-factor authentication (2FA) are pivotal. Implementing 2FA plus appropriate anti-malware and network security protections will help shield PHI from unauthorized access.

What can healthcare providers do to stay safer?

Fending off security threats while maintaining HIPAA compliance and meeting end-user needs is a complicated balancing act. But it’s not impossible. Let’s explore some concrete steps that healthcare firms can take toward safer, more scalable operations.

1) Educate and train staff

Many workers, especially in healthcare, have not routinely worked remotely in the past, meaning that they may need hands-on guidance during the transition. More specifically, it’s critical to remind everyone that regulations such HIPAA apply regardless of location and that remote work environments are prone to a unique set of cybersecurity risks.

It’s prudent to provide a detailed remote work policy with clear protocols about which video and audio conferencing services to use for telehealth and for internal communications, how to avoid common cybersecurity threats, and what to keep in mind regarding regulatory compliance (e.g., is PHI exposed on a desktop during a screen share?). Here are Best practices for clinicians using video conferencing

train healthcare staff

2) Shore up security infrastructure

While VPNs are integral to remote work security in particular, they’re not the only critical components of cybersecurity posture. Healthcare firms should also keep an eye on:

  • Identity and access management (IAM): Who is authorized to access critical resources, and in which ways? Mission-critical platforms like electronic health records solutions are often accessed beyond the provider’s main network, but must be tightly secured via IAM measures for strong authentication and role-based access.
  • Encryption: Data at rest and in transit should be encrypted as needed, both to prevent interception and to maintain HIPAA compliance. While encryption isn’t required by the HIPAA Security Rule, using it is often the most practical way to safely and compliantly transmit health information.
  • Patch management: VPNs, security software and other applications and services must be kept up to date, in order to avoid the exploitation of any known vulnerabilities.
  • SD-WAN: An SD-WAN solution can provide edge network security that connects end users to cloud applications without compromising user experience.

3) Use secure communications platforms

Video conferencing and VoIP, among other applications, play pivotal parts in enabling telehealth. Any such solution must not only provide high quality picture and sound, but also be strengthened against a variety of cybersecurity threats.

Advanced meeting controls, data encryption, and secure supporting data center infrastructure are all vital to effective remote collaboration in this context. With Webex, you can get a safe and productive experience.

Learn more by getting started with a free offer today.

Sources

Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart

Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth Remote Communications During COVID-19

APT Hackers Targeting Healthcare, Essential Services Amid COVID-19

HIPAA Compliance a Concern as Working from Home Becomes Norm

Learn more

Preparing for screen sharing: How to reduce risk when sharing your screen 

Healthcare Cybersecurity: What’s at Stake?

Securing Internet- Connected Devices in the New Era of Healthcare

Still need help?

What’s new in Webex: November 2020

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

Visit our home page or contact us directly for assistance.

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Closeup of man tying on a laptop keyboard while holding on one hand a lock like transparent object. Focus is on the lock symbol meaning online information security
Preparing for screen sharing: How to reduce risk when sharing your screen

Reducing the risk of delays when sharing your screen

As more workers move outside of traditional offices, they’re also outgrowing the collaboration tools that were once staples of those environments, namely email and in-person meetings. Taking the place of those modes of communication are newer forms of teamwork, centered on real-time services for voice, video , and screen sharing.

The screen share in particular is a vital replacement for the old workflow of gathering everyone into a room and turning on a projector to walk them through a slide deck or other asset. But it’s not without its potential complications. Distractions, technical hiccups, or simply choosing confusingly designed software can waste a lot of time.

What can you do to reduce the risk of delays when sharing your screen? Fortunately, there’s no shortage of options for leading a more focused session. Let’s look at some of the most dependable tips for a risk-free screen share.

Share just one window or application

Sharing your entire screen probably feels like the easiest and most practical way to lead a screen share, and in some cases, it is. For example, if you’re leading an in-depth demonstration of how to use a certain built-in feature in macOS or Microsoft Windows, then sharing the full desktop is logical, as you’ll need to walk the audience through where to find everything.

However, this type of screen sharing can also be risky, since it puts everything into public view. Watchers may be able to see what’s on your desktop, notifications from your apps, and even sensitive information like login credentials if you open your password manager.

To avoid these pitfalls, consider sharing just one application or desktop at a time. This way, you limit what can be seen while still being able to share the content you need to show. Webex Teams makes it straightforward to select which screen or app to show at any time.

Take advantage of meeting controls

Your screen share is going great — and then someone strange joins the meeting and starts talking or trying to show their own screen or video feed. Such disruptions have become more common as remote work in general and video conferencing applications in particular have both risen in popularity.

For this reason, it’s important to use built-in meeting controls to keep proceedings on track with as few distractions as possible. Some of the most important practices include:

  • Enforce password entry: Make sure to enable password requirements as needed to reduce the risk of unauthorized logins.
  • Lock the meeting once everyone is in it: Similarly, you can prevent anyone else from joining by locking the session. If you need to let legitimate attendees in later, you can unlock temporarily.
  • Control who the presenter is: As the host, you have the power to change the presenter or reclaim the role for yourself at any time.
  • Mute audio: Is someone’s excessive background noise making the screen share unbearable? Curbing it is as simple as using a mute button to silence their audio.

Turn off notifications

Notifications are important, but they can usually wait until after the screen share is over. A notification that arrives in the middle of a screen share can not only be a huge distraction, but a data leakage risk as well.

Think about all the notifications related to sensitive matters like one-time login codes and two-factor authentication, as well as online purchases, and personal messages. If they’re not turned off, you’re rolling the dice each time you lead a screen share.

Notifications can be turned off systemwide or app-by-app on all modern operating systems. Once the screen share is over, you can easily re-enable them.

Organize desktop and browser appearance

A disorganized desktop or a browser with a bunch of tabs open can be much more than an eyesore — it can also be a data security hazard, for the same reasons as unchecked notifications. A stray tab or document can divulge sensitive information. Plus, in the case of the browser, it can take a toll on system performance, too.

Consider cleaning up your desktop prior to leading a screen share. This can be as simple as using a feature like Stacks in macOS, or just creating a separate clean desktop on Windows and then presenting from there.

Fine-tune application performance

Screen sharing is a real-time process, making technical performance paramount. Software for screen sharing is usually well optimized for displaying the presenter’s screen and video, but multiple issues are still possible and can affect the presentation.

To get the best possible performance, first consider closing any unneeded applications and background processes, as the ongoing syncing of cloud services like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive can consume a lot of bandwidth. Also make sure you’re close enough to your Wi-Fi router or access point, or have an Ethernet connection set up for the most reliable connectivity.

Get started with better screen sharing in Webex

Webex provides an immersive screen sharing experience that lets you connect with as many, or as few, participants as you need to and lead them through a crystal-clear presentation.

To try it for yourself, get started for free today.

Learn More

Screen sharing how-to guide: Tips for better real-time collaboration

Personalize your team meetings with these top four screen sharing features

Why screen sharing works better for sales than traditional conference calls

Still Need help?

Join a Webex online meeting

Learn more about Webex, join one of our upcoming training sessions

Explore daily product demonstrations

Sign up for Webex

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Security and compliance realities for remote financial services workers

Remote work challenges for financial service companies

This year, the pandemic required many workforces to stay and work at home. While the transition may have been hectic initially, many businesses and employees have since grown comfortable with remote working options.

However, many companies have industry-specific considerations that may make work-from-home arrangements difficult to pull off. The financial services sector is one such category of businesses with particular data security and regulatory concerns that can complicate remote working.

Yet not many good options exist to telework currently. Even physical trading floors have been shut down recently, as trading shifts increasingly online. Financial services companies must address the realities of remote work and prepare to ensure business continuity and compliance.

What remote work challenges do financial services face?

Businesses in financial services — like brokers, mutual funds, asset managers, retirement investment advisors, exchanges, and trading firms, among many others — have a number of regulatory and compliance obligations. As such, their telework arrangements have to be airtight.

Broadly, the challenges they face include considerations related to:

  • Cybersecurity: This is a chief concern for any business, but especially for financial services firms. The decentralization of technology presents particular risks. Employees without company-provided hardware must use personal devices to manage client accounts or access confidential information. This carries obvious risks, as personal devices and networks might not feature the same controls as on-premise solutions that were depended on before to securely store and access data.
  • Compliance: Financial activity is governed by a number of regulatory and oversight agencies. Many financial firms have entire departments dedicated to compliance, but COVID-19 likely threw many into disarray with the abrupt shift to telework. Even something as seemingly innocuous as taking a client call next to a spouse who’s also working from home can be problematic, as the conversation likely contains confidential information. Other compliance concerns relate to potential ethical lapses at home when oversight is more lax.
  • Real-time data: One other difficulty financial services firms may encounter is connectivity. Employees depend on real-time data, which they may have taken for granted in an office setting with an industrial connection. Working from home on the Wi-Fi could be troublesome if lag becomes persistent. For example, buying and selling stocks on price data that is outdated by even milliseconds can have a tangible, negative impact on strategy and trade execution.

What can businesses do to ensure compliance and continuity?

Despite the scale of these challenges, financial services don’t have many current alternatives to telework. Even as states reopen, the future of working will undoubtedly be influenced by remote arrangements.

In either case, there are some best practices business in the financial industry can take to safeguard their operations, employees and clients:

  1. Beef up security

This is the very first thing financial businesses should address. This responsibility encompasses not only assessing their security readiness for telework, but actively looking at ways to improve infrastructure and controls. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued comprehensive guidance for financial firms dealing with the COVID-19, including security tips like:

  • Ensuring virtual private networks (VPNs) and other remote access systems have proper security patches and updates.
  • Double-checking that system entitlements are current
  • Using multi-factor authentication for employees who access systems remotely.
  1. Implement necessary supervisory protocols

Even as more businesses adopted remote working policies, financial services firms weren’t as quick. This trend may be largely attributable to compliance obligations, including supervision of employees and associated persons. Doing so is much easier in a centralized office than it is with employees spread across disparate locations.

However, these compliance obligations have not been relaxed in light of the pandemic. Companies that may become lax in this area can face real risks and repercussions down the line.

FINRA also addressed this topic in its COVD-19 pandemic, saying it expects member firms “to establish and maintain a supervisory system that is reasonably designed to supervise the activities of each associated person while working from an alternative or remote location during the pandemic.”

The onus is on financial firms to ensure they implement the necessary supervisory protocols so that FINRA expectations are met.

  1. Train employees

It’s imperative that businesses in financial services provide adequate support and training to employees. Many may be unfamiliar with remote working, especially as it concerns compliance or security. Having a codified set of policies is not enough, your leaders need to investigate ways to engage employees on these points so they can carry out their jobs compliantly and effectively.

Using video conferencing software to host team meetings is one way to teach employees and ensure high retention of information. FINRA also recommended that firms undertake regular education and other exercises that “promote heightened vigilance.”

Young Asia businessman using laptop talk to colleagues about plan in video call while smart working from home at living room. Self-isolation, social distancing, quarantine for corona virus prevention.

  1. Use secure communication software

Financial services firms have an obligation to monitor and preserve communications. When these conversations occur outside traditional channels, they must have a secure solution to meet their needs. The problem is many popular consumer-grade options don’t feature the controls these businesses require.

Businesses need to be sure they have communication and video conferencing tools that not only feature robust functionality, but also security such encryption and other measures.

Looking for a video conferencing solution that offers high performance and security? Consider using Cisco Webex for your financial services firm to preserve business continuity and maintain compliance.

Contact us today for more information, or start with a free offer.

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Adjusting to a new normal: The shift to remote work

Cisco Webex Research Blog Series

The Design Group at Cisco is a global team of Red Dot Award winning creatives who explore peoples’ needs through research and empathy to make the world a better place to work. This series explores their research and some best practices to make everyday interactions more effective. 

Read all the blogs in the series

Results of research on the transition to remote work and the effect on the future of work

In the past six months, there has been an unprecedented shift to remote working.. With little warning or preparation, workers around the world have had to learn how to navigate and adjust to a new normal- working from home.

The UX Research team at Cisco Webex wanted to learn more about this transition and how it will affect the future of work. In July 2020, we conducted a large-scale survey with 860 knowledge workers around the world who had earlier this year shifted from primarily working in the office to primarily working from home. Here are some of our key findings:

Only 5% of respondents want to return to the office full-time

In the future, the vast majority of respondents (78%) would like to work remotely anywhere from every day to a few days a week. This suggests a hybrid working model may be here to stay.

5% of respondents want to return to the office full-term

No commute, greater flexibility, reduced costs, and better work/life balance topped the list of advantages of remote working

The top advantages seen here suggest that a major advantage of working from home may be improved time management, whether it’s tied to a lack of commute or simply greater flexibility in people’s workday.

Distractions, connectivity issues, and missing colleagues were the most common challenges of remote working

No challenge was selected by more than 30% of respondents, suggesting that different people face different problems working from home, most likely influenced by factors such as working environment, job role, household, and seniority.

Since COVID-19, the usage of meeting tools increased by 123%, and the usage of messaging tools increased by 58%

The percentage of people who use messaging or meeting tools two or more times a week dramatically increased, signaling a large change in how workers communicate and collaborate with each other.

graph of messaging tools and meeting tools

Conclusion

At Cisco Webex, we’re working hard to address the challenges that users face in the new workplace. As a follow up research project, we’re also studying how office environments and behaviors are changing as people around the world begin to return to in-person working. We’ll also dig deeper into what unique challenges and advantages accompany a hybrid working model. Stay tuned!

We would love to hear from you. If you are a worker who has recently gone remote and would like to share about your experience, please email us at mailto:webexresearch@cisco.com

Connect with all of our blogs in the series here

About the Authors

Nishchala Singhal, UX Researcher
Nishchala is a UX Researcher at Cisco Webex. With degrees in Human Computer Interaction and Cognitive Science, she is passionate about using research to bring the user’s voice to the product design process. Her goal is to help create intuitive products that improve people’s everyday lives.

Kathryn Parkes, Senior UX Researcher
Kathryn is an experienced user researcher based in Dublin, Ireland reporting into San Jose. As a member of the UX Research team, she leads research projects across the Webex Suite working with various Cisco Collab teams in Ireland, US and across Europe. The team use a broad variety of research methods, including user interviews, usability testing and benchmarking studies, to get a deep understanding of Webex user needs.

Mani Pande, UX Research Manager
Mani leads the user research team in San Jose. Her team is responsible for understanding the needs of Webex users to inform product strategy and direction, and ensure that the software we ship is not only simple and easy to use, but also delightful. You can find her and her team members huddling with Webex users understanding how they use our software and mapping opportunities of improvement. In another life, Mani worked as a reporter for the Times of India, India’s largest selling newspaper, covering media and crime. Outside of work, Mani loves to travel, cycle, run and cook. She posts photos of food that she cooks and places she visits on Instagram.

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It’s back to school time for you, and Webex

Here’s how we’re making the virtual and hybrid school year work better for you

September is a special time of year for kids. Summer comes to an end, and the excitement of summer activities is exchanged for the eager anticipation of starting a new school year with friends and classmates. This year, things certainly feel a bit different. While your kids may not be going back to the physical classroom, that doesn’t mean the excitement needs to evaporate!

A physical classroom doesn’t take away the need to buy new school supplies, the fresh smell of opening a textbook, or witnessing the twinkle of knowledge sparkling in your child’s eye. We have a solution to help make the transition a little easier.

This year, Webex is helping millions of students experience school virtually, and we’re very excited to announce a bunch of new updates and features that will make the education experience even better. Webex is already known as the most secure, most reliable video conferencing platform and now, these additional features are propelling us to the lead as the most effective platform for virtual education!

We’re excited to show you a number of exciting features that will make it even easier and more effective to use Webex at school with our Hybrid Environments for the workplace and the classroom:

Virtual classroom doors can be locked

Say good-bye to stranger-danger. Teachers can make sure no unwanted visitors crash their classrooms by allowing only signed-in students and guests to attend.

Breakout rooms for better learning

Break away from the larger class to launch smaller group sessions. This can help students feel more connected, and allow more students to vocalize and share their opinions or tackle group work.

Break out rooms UX image

Bring order to the classroom

Managing students in the classroom can be difficult, so maintaining the classrooms environment over video might seem impossible. The introduction of more teacher-oriented controls enables a better in-class experience.

Live class transcripts

The Webex Assistant can transcribe the class lecture and provide the post-class write-up, allowing students the chance to read through any missed information while providing further opportunity to let the learnings sink in.

Classroom connections

With Messaging integrated into Webex, classmates and teachers can share ideas and engage on any topic being taught in class. Learning goes beyond just what the teacher is teaching.

Messaging in Webex for education
Messaging integrated into Webex Classroom (Preview)

Read more about our announcements and get an in-depth view into the myriad of ways that Webex can create the best virtual and hybrid classroom experience.

Learn more hybrid learning tips from teachers, for teachers

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Additional Resources

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Education Resources

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Cisco Education Home Page

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