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Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Working from home: The future of business is remote

Cisco debuts expanded security capabilities, new integrations for Webex

Like many other video conferencing and collaboration tools, Webex has seen a spike in usage driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cisco on Tuesday announced new security capabilities and integrations for Webex, its video conferencing and collaboration platform. The updates come as Webex -- like many video conferencing and cloud collaboration tools -- sees huge spikes in usage due to the number of workers staying productive remotely through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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In April, Webex customers generated 25 billion meeting minutes, the company said -- more than triple the average amount. Correspondingly, the company has continued to expand its global capacity, now running the Webex platform at 3X its previous capacity. 

Also: Best video conferencing software for business: Microsoft Teams plus eight more Zoom alternatives  

"Keeping employees, heads of state, healthcare providers and many more securely connected and productive is at the heart of what we do,"  Javed Khan, VP and GM of Cisco's Collaboration Group, said in a statement. "Even before the pandemic, Cisco was one of the world's largest collaboration providers, supporting nearly half the world's video conferencing. Now we're supporting 3X the normal volumes." 

To make the Webex platform more secure, particularly for highly-regulated customers, Cisco is extending data loss prevention (DLP) retention, Legal Hold, and eDiscovery capabilities to Webex Meetings. This provides a new level of security for all meeting content, including recordings, transcriptions, and action items. 

Additionally, Cisco is expanding its end-to-end encryption options to include AES 256 Bit encryption with GCM mode, for increased meeting data protection.

Meanwhile, the company is adding new integrations to Webex that should help accommodate remote work, both for the enterprise as a whole and for the health sector in particular. Webex Teams is now integrated with Box, the widely-used cloud content management platform. 

Additionally, Webex Teams now integrates with Epic, the electronic health record (EHR) provider. More than 250 million patients have a current electronic record in Epic. The new integration will enable health care providers to use Webex Teams to conduct video visits with patients, review medical history, and update clinical documentation. 

With increased usage driven by the pandemic, Cisco on Tuesday also highlighted ways the Webex Control Hub can help organizations responsibly facilitate remote work, as well as in-office meetings. For instance, administrators can use it to get data and insights related to meeting room usage, which could help inform cleaning schedules or social distancing strategies. They could also use the Control Hub to deploy the voice-activated Webex Assistant to conference room devices, minimizing the number of times such devices have to be touched.