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” Good Enough” Switching is not Good Enough for Public Sector Customers

March 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm PST

Public Sector customers continue to debate the trade-offs of prioritizing lowest price switching, point product solutions, over designing and deploying Cisco network architecture solutions which provide a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

On February 23, 2012, Deloitte Consulting presented the findings of an in-depth research study that examines the operational, financial, and risk factors associated with the use of single-vendor and multivendor approaches in different types of complex networks which may be viewed here along with the report itself.

They key findings are summarized in the following 7 items:

  1. Within the context of total IT spending, the use of single-vendor or multivendor architectures does not present material cost differences on a long-term basis. Initial cost savings realized in multivendor network implementations are mitigated by the incremental operating costs over the life of the equipment.
  2. Enterprise networks are considered critical production systems, key to business operations. Networks must be managed with an appropriate operational risk perspective.
  3. Customers prefer a single vendor to be responsible for all network components and services. The operational risk associated with network support, not the cost, is the primary factor when influencing the decisions to use single or multivendor architectures.
  4. Staffing costs are not significantly impacted by the use of multiple vendors; it is more influenced by the mix of functions supported and the types of network services provided.
  5. Using products from different vendors can bring down initial costs for certain products, but adds higher operating risk in service, support, and operational integration.
  6. The use of multiple networking vendors introduces additional operational risk based on the need for customers to assume increased risks for integration, interoperability and support.
  7. When using multiple vendors’ products, customers frequently do not recognize the interdependencies of functionality, long-term costs, and impact on operational risks

And be sure to watch Director of Public Sector Systems Engineering,  Dave West on youtube present his version of why low-cost, ” Good Enough” Switching is not Good Enough for Public Sector Customers looking for a reliable, secure, highly available, well supported and investment protected network.

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New Cost Savings Models for Government IT

The Obama Administration is committed to building a 21st century government and the strategic use of technology will be transformative in making that vision a reality.  Organizations are being challenged now, more than ever to balance limited technology resources and budgets with policies and user demands.  However, savings is not always measured in dollars, but could include increased employee productivity, lower energy costs, and enhanced end user experience through improved service levels.

The City of Raleigh experienced these and other residual benefits firsthand as they worked to create a unified vision for technology.  By leveraging a unified approach to voice, video and wireless solutions, they were able to revitalize downtown area businesses, the convention center, schools and low-income households.  In doing so, they not only renewed interest in an emerging community, but recognized significant cost savings.  The government network is better positioned to serve the needs of their constituents and businesses and continuously drive improvements for the city and its citizens.  Individuals and investors have returned to the downtown Raleigh area and nearly 2,000 low-income households now have wireless internet connectivity.  By leveraging the power of a secure, scalable and reliable network, the City of Raleigh has realized the benefits of connecting, innovating and saving, far beyond dollars saved.  Learn how “America’s Most Wired City” put this plan into action and how they are better positioned to adapt to the changing demands of the people they serve.

Join us at the Government Solutions Forum on March 21, 2012 from 8:00am-3:45pm at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/government/solutionsforum.html

Follow the live chatter on Twitter using #CiscoGSF.  To find out how you can drive down the total cost of ownership for your network and learn innovative ways to cut costs, please visit http://www.cutting-costs.com/

What You Can Learn from 2nd Graders and Traffic Lights and Happy Employees

February 29, 2012 at 8:53 am PST

What do the U.S Patent Trade Office (PTO), the City of San Antonio and the Mooresville Grade School District in North Carolina all have in common?   Each of these organizations is using technology in unique and innovative ways to fundamentally change how they approach their business.  By implementing a telework program, the PTO was able to recognize $19M in savings in real estate costs, while at the same time, providing their employees with the flexibility to work remotely and save commuting time.  Mooresville School District improved graduation rates from 64 to 91%, by implementing a Digital Conversion program which provides every student in grades 2 and above with a laptop, integrating mobile technology into researching, multimedia projects and three dimensional learning.  The City of San Antonio succeeded in improving traffic, lowering gas emissions and shortening commute times, by creating an intelligent traffic signal communication network.

While these stories demonstrate great results, they are not entirely unique.  Many government and education organizations are turning to technology to help them connect, innovate and save.  There are some great stories to be heard and lessons to be learned.  If you find these examples interesting, you might want to check out this Town Hall discussion where representatives from these organizations, as well as from the City of Raleigh North Carolina, The City of Aurora Illinois, the Idaho Education Network and McHenry County discuss the new and exciting ways they are deploying technology.  You might even learn a thing or two from traffic lights.

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ISR G2 and ASR1000 achieve PEPAS Certification!

February 27, 2012 at 11:53 am PST

The Global Certification Team is proud to collaborate with our colleagues across the globe.  Today we have a guest post by Mark Jackson <marjacks@cisco.com>, Technical Solutions Architect, Cisco UK.  Mark will be sharing about the recent PEPAS certification of the Cisco ISR G2 and ASR1000.

The Public Services Network (PSN) is at the heart of the UK Government ICT Strategy and aims to deliver significant cost savings against the current £16.5bn annual ICT spend whilst at the same time providing the foundation to enable the government to transform the way in which it delivers services to the citizen. Maintaining security within the PSN is critical to its success and as such, CESG and the Cabinet Office have laid down a range of technical and information assurance standards against which vendors must comply.

In the UK Government, classified information is protectively marked based on the resulting impact to business should the information be compromised. Often shortened to IL (Impact Level), there are seven levels ranging from IL0 to IL6 where IL6 has the highest impact.  The discipline of information assurance (IA) is used to provide confidence that systems systems handling protectively marked information do so in a robust fashion. Effective IA is widely seen as providing an important role in reducing the Nation’s vulnerabilities to cyber attack (Nation Cyber Security Strategy) and takes on a wide range of forms across the domains of technology, people and process. In the technology domain, the use of assured products is a key element in providing confidence that classified information will remain protected in accordance with its IL marking.

Within the context of the PSN, the baseline infrastructure will be assured to protect IL2 information passing in the clear; IL2 is used by many government departments and local authorities. The PSN will also be used extensively to transport IL3 information, more often seen in central government departments and law enforcement. In the PSN, protecting IL3 information requires the use of CESG assured cryptography and historically this has meant CAPS Baseline assured devices. CAPS devices are often criticised for their high cost and complexity of management, requiring customers to deploy two physical devices per site; a situation that is clearly not ideal when the primary goal of the PSN is to reduce cost. The CESG PEPAS assurance scheme was developed specifically to address the information assurance requirements of for using commercial-grade cryptography to deliver large-scale secure network overlay solutions for IL3 information within the PSN.

Cisco are pleased to announce that their ISR G2 and ASR 1000 Series routers have successfully completed and passed CESG PEPAS evaluation and can be used to support the secure transportation of IL3 information in the PSN. This announcement provides our customers and partners with the confidence to deploy Cisco IPsec VPN technology to protect IL3 information, whilst at the same time taking advantage of the wide range of capabilities offered by the ISR G2 and ASR 1000 series platforms. The Cisco ISR G2 and ASR 1000 series deliver an all-in-one solution combining WAN and IPsec VPN termination, whilst at the same time being able to deliver non-encrypted IL2 transport and additional services such as firewalling, application optimisation and voice.

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Global Certification Team at RSA 2012

February 24, 2012 at 7:18 am PST

The Global Certification Team is proud to have a presence at RSA 2012 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco!

We will be taking part in several talks and presentations, including the following:

  • The CC Forum Interim Steering Committee -- This time will be used for both the Terms of Reference working group and the Governance working group.
  • Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (O-TTF).   The O-TTF is developing a set of best practice requirements and recommendations for Supply Chain Security, that when practically applied, create a business benefit in terms of reduced risk of acquiring tainted or counterfeit products for the technology acquirer.
  • “Lock it down or Free it Up” -- Special keynote address by Christopher Young, Senior Vice President, Security and Government Group, Cisco -- Wednesday February 29, 3:10 p.m.
Be sure to check out this link for the live stream of the Keynote addresses.
We are looking forward to meeting with our peers from around the globe.  If you are attending any of the above workshops or talks, look for us!

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