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Artifical Intelligence

Cisco goes all out on AI

Cisco has unveiled new solutions that bring generative artificial intelligence to security and productivity.

During the Cisco Live conference in Las Vegas last week, Cisco announced it was “reimagining the way people work with new, powerful generative AI technology”. Cisco said it would harness large language models (LLMs) – the power behind ChatGPT, Google Bard and Bing AI – across its collaboration and security portfolios “to help organisations drive productivity and simplicity for their workforce”.

Expectations are at an all-time high. Organisations are grappling with how to deliver unrivalled experiences for hybrid workers, while safeguarding their businesses from sophisticated cyber threats.

According to Cisco’s 2023 State of Global Innovation study, IT professionals rank generative AI as the technology most likely to have a significant impact on their business, with 85% of those saying they’re prepared for its impact. Cisco says it recognises the important role generative AI will play in advancing the future of work and is committed to providing hybrid workers with an efficient, safer, and more productive, work experience.

“Generative AI will quickly become pervasive as we see businesses and workers embrace the technology to become materially more productive,” said Jeetu Patel, Cisco executive vice president and general manager for security and collaboration. “At Cisco, we’ve been using AI for years. Now we’re unveiling how we’re incorporating generative AI into our existing products, helping customers drive real value to unlock the most secure, unrivalled work experiences possible.”

Cisco provided the following information on how it would integrate generative AI:

With every work interaction being hybrid, employees, and customers need collaboration experiences that empower them to do their best work. Within the Webex Suite, new summarisation capabilities that help people get up to speed in seconds will include:

  • “Catch Me Up” will allow users to quickly catch up on missed interactions, including meetings, calling, and chats.
  • Intelligent meeting summaries with key points and action items. Users can opt in to automatically generate the most important elements of a Webex meeting, extract the key points, and capture action items with owners. This will be a huge time-saver for attendees and people unable to join a meeting – eliminating the need to listen to a recording or read through transcripts.
  • Summaries in Vidcast, the company’s video messaging tool. This capability will produce highlights and chapters so viewers can navigate to the most important parts of the video quickly.

New conversation summaries in Webex Contact Center will provide agents with a fast, automated way to consume long-form text from digital chats with customers as well as facilitating post-call wrap-up and resolution with customers. For example, if a customer escalates to a call with a human agent, they expect that agent to be informed and not have to repeat their frustrations. Chat summaries provide the agent with a clear summarisation of issues and resolutions already explored via self-service and a summary of the call to both the agent and customer once it ends.

  • Moving Security from Complex to Conversational

Cisco is investing in cutting-edge innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning that will augment security staff by simplifying operations and increasing efficacy. Further delivering on its Security Cloud vision, Cisco is previewing new generative AI capabilities to simplify policy management and improve threat response.

Effective security policy creation and management is an oftentimes extremely complex but critical function of cybersecurity hygiene. There is little room for error and the process of making simple edits that won’t interfere with or override previous rules is extremely time consuming and technically challenging. The volume, inconsistency, and complexity of maintaining all of these policies across all of these systems creates a significant risk that opens the door for attacks.

The Cisco Security Cloud will leverage a generative AI Policy Assistant to address this problem by enabling security and IT administrators to describe granular security policies and evaluate how to best implement them across different aspects of their security infrastructure.

The Cisco Policy Assistant can reason with the existing firewall policy set to implement and simplify rules within the Cisco Secure Firewall Management Center. It is the first of many examples of how generative AI can reimagine policy management across the Cisco Security Cloud.

  • Augmenting Analysts with Machine Speed and Scale

Threat detection and response is another complex and high stakes responsibility of the security operations where time is of the essence and analysts must rapidly gain understanding of complex systems at machine scale.

Cisco’s security operations center (SOC) Assistant will augment security analysts with the context to make the right decisions at the right time. The SOC Assistant will provide a comprehensive situation analysis for analysts, correlating intel across the Cisco Security Cloud platform solutions, relaying potential impacts, and providing recommended actions. Significantly reducing the time needed for SOC teams to respond to potential threats.

  • Cisco’s Approach to Generative AI

For years, Cisco has leveraged AI with audio, video, natural language understanding, and analytics to create unrivaled experiences for Webex users. New enhancements in LLM and generative AI are advancing further to deliver unrivaled hybrid work experiences. Webex has established a first set of principles, consisting of multi-modal support, permissions, privacy, and accuracy for its enterprise-grade AI. This includes only using data that individuals already have permission to access, based on the privacy and security rules of that specific data source.

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