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By 30 August 2023 | Categories: news

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By Donovan Couve, Business Practice Lead Comstor Cisco, Westcon-Comstor Southern Africa

The year 2020 marked a pivotal turn in the pages of business history. The onset of the pandemic reshaped the traditional office, morphing it into virtual workspaces that spanned continents. But this wasn't a mere temporary phase. The evolution was clear when Cisco's hybrid workplace survey revealed that 77% of larger organisations sought flexible work models, with a significant 58% of employees planning to work remotely for over a week every month. Something still largely in practice today.

Yet, this transformative shift brought a shadow: a surge in cyber threats. The cybersecurity landscape darkened, with the FBI recording a 300% rise in cyberattacks in 2020. Predictions pointed to staggering ransomware damages possibly reaching $20 billion. Now more than ever, global and African businesses needed a sentinel. In this article, I will highlight the success of the Cisco Secure Hybrid Work solution and how it is helping customers be that sentinel.

Securing Africa's Digital Frontier: A Pledge to Empower Anywhere

Africa is a continent of contrasts, from its bustling urban centres to the serene expanse of its remote locations, all of which have put it on the brink of a digital revolution. Yet, the very elements that make it unique—its vastness, diversity, and evolving digital infrastructure—also make it vulnerable. Cybersecurity isn't a luxury here; it's a necessity.

A significant challenge for customers across the continent is that security solutions are often proposed to them that either don't fit the requirements of the business, are just too expensive, or don't make the connection between being a global solution required to fulfil a local need. As a distributor, we sit between the vendor and the partner and have a full view of what is being promised, what is being sold, and what the customer eventually ends up with.

Regarding the Cisco Secure Hybrid Work solution, we have found that it not only understands the demands of a modern organisation but addresses them with finesse and agility. It promises to shield digital assets while optimising IT operations, balancing defence and efficiency. This is a critical success factor for our local customers facing digital skills migration to Europe and the US.

Building Trust in Every Interaction

What do we know? In the digital world, we know that trust isn't given; it's earned, which is where a Zero Trust approach is required. Moving beyond mere perimeter defences, Cisco's Zero Trust approach, in particular, delves into the very heart of interactions, vetting every access request. With its vast digital expanse and localised security and sovereignty laws, Africa demands meticulous scrutiny.

How are our partners getting it right? They are using the following tools to perform the following functions:

  • Cisco Secure Access by Duo: This is a gateway and the guardian of corporate resources, ensuring only verified users gain entry.
  • Cisco AnyConnect: Designed for a continent as vast as Africa, this tool ensures that distance and device are not barriers to secure connectivity.

Reinforcing the Frontlines in Africa's Digital Landscape

The digital handshake, the initial point of contact, is where threats often try to breach. Here, from the vigilant Cisco Umbrella to the astute Cisco Secure Email, stand guard, ensuring that every interaction, whether it's in South Africa’s digital networks, Lagos's tech hubs or Namibia's rural expanse, remains secure.

But a defence is only as strong as its depth. Recognising this, Cisco also provides its Secure Endpoint solution, which acts with remarkable agility. It doesn't just repel threats but responds efficiently, reducing response times and ensuring that businesses, whether in bustling cities or remote locales, are always shielded.

A Track Record of Efficacy

In short, a hybrid solution must work for a business's exacting needs. The three primary goals it must achieve are to unify, simplify and for this anywhere and everywhere. This is why we believe that with the Cisco Secure Hybrid Work solution, you have a simple, unifying solution to enable security everywhere and empower work anywhere.

Another reason I wanted to focus on Cisco’s Secure Hybrid Work solution is because its prowess is etched in numbers. It's the chosen sentinel for all Fortune 100 companies, processing 900 million authentications and guarding 87 million endpoints. It’s not just about numbers; it's about results—like the staggering reduction in alerts and malware incidents.

Yet, what truly elevates this offering is that, unlike solutions where you require multiple vendor solutions to create a multi-layered secure approach for hybrid work, the Cisco offering delivers this through an integrated vision. For example, platforms like Cisco SecureX offer more than defence—they empower, and with Cisco Talos, businesses have a pre-emptive strike against threats.

The future is hybrid, and with it comes new challenges. But with the right technologies and a holistic and integrated approach, businesses can meet these challenges head-on.

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