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Cisco & Actiance
Extending the Functionality of Cisco Unified Presence Environments

Deploying Cisco Unified Presence v8(CUP8) is one of the first steps to take advantage of the benefits of Unified Communications (UC). However, in heterogeneous environments where the UC platform operates alongside other communications applications, the overall security, management and compliance becomes more complex.

In practice, it is rare that only one UC suite is used exclusively, even after an organization has standardized on a single platform like CUP8. The enterprise architecture will more likely include a combination of authorized applications such as a specific public IM and Skype, which will remain in use no matter what UC platform is deployed. In addition, collaboration with partners, contractors and customers will require the inclusion of other enterprise UC platforms.

This is further complicated by the users themselves downloading and accessing a myriad of unauthorized real-time communications tools and Web 2.0 applications such as Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook, and the more business-oriented LinkedIn. Regardless of company policy, because of their pervasive nature and employees' reluctance to do without, these applications are often found in extensive use across most organizations.

Traditional security measures are no match for today's modern communications tools. Many legitimate applications use evasive techniques, such as port hopping, protocol tunneling, and encryption. In addition, some use peer-to-peer connections. Skype, for instance, uses a peer-to-peer connection and is encrypted end-to-end, often even tunneling through HTTP/port 80, if that is the only port/protocol that it finds open on the firewall, negating the use of URL filtering solutions to control it.

Aside from the obvious hazard of malware using this unauthorized channel to subversively enter the network, deploying CUP8 without the means to enforce other communications channels from being used adds the danger that organizations are not monitoring everything that leaves or enters the network. Add to this a lack of management to consistently enforce disclaimers, manage content filtering, and provide granular control over all Internet communications and it is clear that releasing the full potential of unified communications and collaboration requires specialist technology to meet the security, management, and compliance issues created when deploying a UC platform.

Actiance's award-winning platform, Vantage, extends and augments CUP8's native functionality with security, compliance, policy enforcement, reporting, and archiving, without impacting the scalability or the performance of a CUP8 deployment. Actiance's extensive functionality enables enterprises to embrace internal and external collaboration, with the ability to create ethical boundaries and block or control potentially unauthorized applications, such as Skype, Google Talk and other real-time communications.