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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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Transforming Government ICT… in 10 steps

April 5, 2013 at 2:44 am PST

For the last 3 years, Cisco has helped many CIOs and IT leaders achieve their objectives by using a business/IT architecture methodology called Strategic IT Roadmap, or SITR. SITR’s ultimate deliverable is the “Unified Architecture Roadmap” which aligns IT initiatives with the key business priorities. This puts the CIO in a strong position when defending the IT plan/budget towards the other C-level executives.

We have seen great successes in public sector accounts, such as Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Fire Services or Fontys University of Applied Science, coming from the fact that:

  • SITR is simple & pragmatic: it’s not rocket-science and values common sense over pre-established rules;
  • SITR is holistic: it encompasses network,  data centre, collaboration, security, applications, governance, etc.
  • SITR is flexible: it’s not a rigid framework, and can be adapted depending on the context;
  • SITR is result-oriented: it’s not an academic project, and there are concrete business deliverables;
  • SITR is iterative: we prefer short iterations (ideally no more than 6 to 8 weeks), and we are not re-writing the annual report;
  • SITR is based on TOGAF and COBIT5, as well as many best practices and templates from similar customers across EMEAR region;
  • SITR is entirely funded by Cisco and/or our partners.

In this post, I explain how SITR can be performed in 10 steps, as depicted below.

TN 10-Step Cycle

I will now describe each step and provide template slides; these are just samples of what SITR deliverables look like.

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and the Smart City: It’s All Connected

Cities around the world are facing some big and complicated problems, with few easy answers at the ready. Rising energy costs, environmental concerns, and new government initiatives have inspired a focus on sustainable IT operations. But how can cities be expected to solve these crises, while also improving citizen services and ensuring future economic success?

Advanced information and communications technology (ICT) is a great answer, but this is easier said than done. Cities frequently face logistical hurdles on the road to becoming Smart Cities. I believe the key is creating a more effective “connected transformation,” harnessing the power of cloud computing for cost reduction and the delivery of vital services.

We’ve seen this in the enterprise sector: An intelligent IP-enabled information network provides a single, multiservice infrastructure to support productivity and cost initiatives—all achieved remotely, via cloud management. Government agencies are beginning to follow this lead. The public sector, for example, is finding new ways to measure such things as power consumption, thereby controlling energy output, reducing costs, and increasing operational efficiency. For government as well, the cloud is becoming an important tool for achieving greater sustainability.

Overall, the cloud is helping to create more effective city management, and it enables the network to become:

  • Observable. Cities can monitor systems, power flows, and equipment, with no physical or location constraints.
  • Controllable. Providing remote two-way communications and data between stations, systems, and equipment will maintain effective operations.
  • Automated. Hands-off processes allow for greater cost efficiency.
  • Secure. Layers of defense throughout a cloud grid will assure service reliability, prevent outages, and protect citizens.

The result is an intelligent, integrated cloud infrastructure that is pivotal to a Smart City’s evolution. Some amazing technology advances are making it possible for complex systems to be managed—and self-managed—remotely and efficiently. A flood of recently published case studies show how, in practical terms, high connectivity is essential to a new future for buildings and cities, and to the urban economy as a whole.

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National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic 2013

There are so many things that make me proud of Cisco and its employees, but one of the most gratifying is the work we do to support our nation’s heroes – our warfighters and veterans. This week, nearly 400 of those heroes will take to the slopes, ride snowmobiles, try scuba diving, and enjoy rock climbing and other activities at the 27th annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, Colo. from March 31-April 5.

Snowmobiling at the 2012 Winter Sports Clinic

Snowmobiling at the 2012 Winter Sports Clinic

The Clinic provides adaptive winter sports instruction for U.S. military veterans and active duty service men and women with disabilities. It is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and supported by other sponsors, including Cisco.

I look forward to this event every year. It is truly inspiring to share these experiences with such great men and women, hear their stories and see them take on new challenges. Personally, my favorite activity is snowmobiling, although I enjoy skiing as well. But by far the best thing about the Clinic is the opportunity to give something back to, and show our appreciation for, our nation’s finest. Read More »

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series: The Truth About The Cloud…It’s Not Magic

When I stepped outside this morning, new clouds were forming by the second.

By the time I reached my car, they had transformed a static blue sky into a pulsing network of dynamic gray structures. It was so fast it seemed like a magic trick.

Transforming existing government IT services into cloud services is absolutely not magic.

It’s a process, a series of phased steps. It’s a journey that requires smarter security, integration with legacy systems and processes, and substantial expertise and experience.

Feeling the pressure

Cloud computing is shifting from an option to must-have. If you’re an IT professional working in local, state/province, or national government, the pressure you’re feeling to move to the cloud is palpable, and growing by the week.

You face increasing pressure to reduce costs—and concurrently expand services, data sharing, and information access. Simultaneously, rising security challenges demand that you use new approaches for securing data and compliance.

There’s also mounting pressure to deploy applications more quickly and consistently, and downsize your data centers and environmental footprint.

A cloud model can relieve all these pressures. Cloud computing presents you with a huge opportunity—for your organization and your career—to transform the way that people access and use data, and the way that you store and secure it.

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