At Cisco Live 2017, CEO Chuck Robbins introduced a surprise guest, Apple CEO Tim Cook. The duo discussed everything from augmented reality to iOS 11 and the importance of security in the network.

Robbins introduced Cook to a crowd of 28,000 during his keynote address at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and said that Cisco and Apple will have a much deeper partnership in the coming years. Cisco and Apple have already been partners for two years, but will now push farther into the enterprise together.

“For those of you that have known Apple for a long time, the whole premise behind the company is to make the best products that change the world and improve things,” Cook said. “We saw a confluence of things coming together in the enterprise. For one, maybe forward-looking, forward-thinking CIOs are giving their employees the ability to decide what devices they want to use; whether it was smart phones or tablets or PCs. There was a pull there into the enterprise for us which is fantastic.”

Cook said he also saw enterprise users spending a lot of money on products that lacked a strong user experience. “We thought we could bring Apple’s legendary ease of use and simplicity to the enterprise and really change the way people work,” Cook said. “With those two things coming together, now we believe we can provide a much more secure device because of the way our systems work, underlying architecture, as well as our ability to update devices and sort of own the silicon all the way through to the software. We felt we could do something that would become important. We had no idea at the time how important security would become.”

SEE: Cisco Live 2017: Artificial intelligence and machine learning will herald in the next era of networking (TechRepublic)

Cook also talked about the iOS 11 developer release earlier this month. The public beta with integrated augmented reality is now available for download, “so you can get your hands on it and begin thinking about what AR means to your enterprise,” Cook said. “This is one of the things I am so excited about for both consumer and enterprise. There are also a significant number of security enhancements. We believe that with every release, we need to make security better and better because the hacking community is getting, well, the hacking community aren’t hackers anymore. It’s a sophisticated enterprise, right?”

The iOS 11 beta includes many new features, Cook said. “The fast lane that we worked on together for iOS last year was brought to the Mac this year. We are excited about that. The things we worked on together with configuring and encrypting DNS, sort of blocking these phishing emails that all of us are getting tons of everyday, and filtering content for security reasons. These kind of things built right in. There are some simple things that go to this user experience that I talked about like the stuff that we worked on together with WebEx and Spark so that with one tap on your calendar, you’re connecting.”

Cook also noted the loss of productivity so many companies experience during meetings, when it takes several minutes just to get connected.

The ease of deploying features relative to employee service with an iOS fast lane will be improved with the development capabilities in the new Cisco portfolio, Robbins said. “Also, I think, there are some WiFi analytics that also fit within what we’re thinking about,” he added.

=”The whole idea behind the work that we’re doing together is that you should be in control over the cat videos that are being watched in the office site versus the critical business application, and you think about the difficulties people have just connecting or staying on Wi-Fi, and the prioritization there and ability to pick your stuff quickly,” Cook said. “We got a whole new device management system in iOS 11 as well that made rolling out multiple devices simple.”

Companies will never be able to achieve the realized benefit of the billions of devices connected if they don’t bring improved security measures to the enterprise, Robbins said.

Robbins asked Cook to comment on the opportunities that currently exist to innovate in the security space. Cook acknowledged that the cybersecurity threats “are just going nuts. “”They are really exponential and it’s not the guy in the basement any longer,” Cook said. “It is a sophisticated enterprise. Everyday you read the news or whatever, there’s another one and it’s massive. It’s financial fraud, it’s things that affect our public safety. You get this going on and on.”

Cook continued, “We know that there’s a lot of people buying site security insurance. Just the market itself is getting heated up. As you can guess, it’s difficult to conclude how to price this. Because the firms have to assess the culpabilities, the risks and so forth. The thinking that we share here is that if your enterprise, if your company is using Cisco and Apple, that the combination of these should make that insurance cost significantly less for you than it would if you were using some other personal network side, and the other operating system … This is something that we’re going to spend some energy on. You should reap that benefit. Your company should reap that benefit because you are safer. There will be more on that coming out, right?”

Robbins said, “When we had our session, we were talking about how quickly we should think about integrating the security aspects of our portfolios.” He said that Cisco will be getting more deeply involved in these types of initiatives, and there will be more information on that in the future.

Three takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Apple will be focusing more on the enterprise and the security of devices with its upcoming iOS 11 public release.
  2. The enterprise should get reduced insurance costs if using Cisco and Apple together to combat security issues.
  3. Cisco will be getting more involved in security aspects of mobile devices and there will be future announcements along those lines involving its partnership with Apple.

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