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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and the Smart City: A Brighter Tomorrow

In my last blog, I discussed the benefits of Smart City cloud management capabilities. An intelligent IP-enabled network unites multiple services onto one infrastructure, allowing for tight operations management and lower expenses. Operating this network remotely, through the cloud, further enhances the capability for sustainable, effective city management.

As Smart City visions emerge in various projects in local government, we will see a combination of new ways of thinking, designing, planning, executing, and managing. Busan, South Korea has already discovered the powerful benefits of cloud infrastructure to create Smart+Connected Communities solutions. The government partnered with companies to create a Mobile Application Center to utilize city assets and the connected network. (You can also watch a video series, “Cities of the Future,” on Songdo, South Korea and how this new connected Smart City was designed, planned, and built.)

There are some important steps that other cities and governments can take to harness the power of the cloud to become more connected, efficient, and sustainable. A process on how to answer the Smart City call to action is further outlined in Cisco’s POV paper, “Smart City Framework,” and video.

1.     Use one intelligent, multiservice IP network.

This is the overarching mantra of a Smart City—connect systems and services to improve city livability. While it can seem daunting, it’s important to remember the long-term benefits of a connected city, especially using cloud management. Some of the most promising Smart City projects have shown that it’s possible to use the network to achieve some major goals of state and local government, including efficient city management and economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Savvy government leaders are recognizing the untapped power of the network and incorporating its potential into the early stages of planning and development. Many cities have experimented with including information and communications technology (ICT) solutions through small-scale “proof of concept” projects. Since budgets are so limited, it can be difficult to adopt a purely centralized approach, which means trying new techniques and learning from the enterprise sector.

2.     Build a foundation for public-private partnerships.

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Invitation to attend a discussion about IT product security and information assurance requirements for the Canadian government

The Common Criteria Users Forum is inviting representatives from Canadian government agencies to participate in a free round-table discussion about how the information assurance requirements of Canadian government agencies can be incorporated in international standards for IT security and the evaluation of IT products.

Specifically, we are hoping to engage individuals who have a working-level understanding of government IT security standards, procurement policies, or certification and accreditation, in a discussion about how Canadian government agencies can provide input into the development of Common Criteria Protection Profiles for IT products.

Note that we will not be discussing specific requirements, it is not a commercial or sales event, and there is no fee or obligation for attending.  While this event is intended for Canada, the CCUF is looking to expand to other geographies.

Common Criteria Users Forum

 

Date, time, and location:
The meeting is being held on Friday, 17 May 2013 from 10:30 AM to noon, at Oracle, 45
O’Connor St Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4.
Agenda:
10:30 to 10:45 — Welcome and introductions
10:45 to 11:00 — A brief introduction to the Common Criteria and the CCUF
11:00 to noon — Round-table discussion

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Collaboration Evolution: Why it’s Time to Upgrade to VoIP

Communication is key, yet too many government agencies voice platforms are living in archaic times.

As government agencies are turning to collaboration technologies like voice, video and mobility to increase efficiency and lower costs, many are faced with outdated voice platforms like Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) .  However, the shift to VoIP enables organizations to modernize their communications platform for more robust communication applications, while significantly reducing operating costs.

VoIP provides significant net savings by allowing the management of managing one unified network and no longer needing to sustain a legacy phone system. It also provides enhanced features and VoIP services that improve the user experience. Advanced call routing, image transfer, phone portability, as well as integration with other collaboration applications, such as voicemail delivery via email, voice call button on email are examples of functionality users have come to expect. Read More »

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series: The Strategic Value of the Cloud for State & Local Governments

Almost everyone has heard of the “cloud,” as a result of advertising by computer companies and frequent mentions in the news media. “Cloud” refers to technology resources used by an organization that are not at their own location, but available over the global data communications network (otherwise called the Internet).  Moreover, the cloud is not just a question of getting access to some big data center in the sky; ultimately, it means gaining authorized access to any data or computing resource that is part of the Internet, and even combining data and software components from physically distant computers.

Public officials may have heard about how the cloud is being used in the public sector. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors had a session on this at its 2011 meeting where various mayors spoke about how their cities were using such services as shared email “in the cloud.” At the National Association of Counties, there have been sessions describing a cloud that is restricted to trusted government agencies at the state and local levels — what some call the “private cloud” because its services are not available to every organization, thus helping preserve the privacy and integrity of government data.

But the reasons state and local government officials might want to use the cloud are not often explained.  This post will describe the various ways that the cloud can provide strategic value to state and local governments.

Cost Savings

Most people have first heard of the cloud as a means of saving money, which is especially attractive at a time of tighter budgets. So instead of buying hardware and software, a government agency rents what it needs, when it needs it. This approach means you can shift from using bonds and debt service to an approach that matches your IT budget with the real demand each year.

And, often, the software services available in the cloud, such as email, can cost less per employee than licensing equivalent software in-house.

Resilience, Flexibility & Faster Technology Adoption

Potential cost reduction is not all there is to the story. There are other positive benefits as well.

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Cisco ASA Family receives FIPS 140-2 Certification!

April 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm PST

The Global Certification Team is proud to announce the FIPS 140-2 crypto certification of the Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) family.  This certification covered the following models: Cisco ASA 5505, ASA 5510, ASA 5520, ASA 5540, ASA 5550, ASA 5580-20, ASA 5580-40, ASA 5585-X SSP-10, 5585-X SSP-20, 5585-X SSP-40 and 5585-X SSP-60 Security Appliances.  The ASA’s were evaluated at level 2 and earned FIPS certificate #1932 on software version 8.4.4.1.

The Cisco ASA 5500 Series helps organizations to balance security with productivity. It combines the industry’s most deployed stateful inspection firewall with comprehensive next-generation network security services.  More information on the Cisco ASA family can be found on Cisco.com!

Get up to the minute updates on Cisco product certifications from the official Cisco Global Certification Team twitter, @CiscoCertTeam!

FIPS-140 is a US and Canadian government standard that specifies security requirements for cryptographic modules. A cryptographic module is defined as “the set of hardware, software, and/or firmware that implements approved security functions (including cryptographic algorithms and key generation) and is contained within the cryptographic boundary.” The cryptographic module is what is being validated.

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