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Cisco, EMC, MS Help Out Uncle Sam

With the U.S. government under continued pressure to improve its security strategies, Cisco, EMC, and Microsoft have responded with a strategy to help. (See EMC Teams With Cisco & Microsoft, Homeland Security Spending Spree, and Report: Feds Need Security.)

This IT power troika is touting a partnership called the Secure Information Sharing Architecture (SISA) in an attempt to bridge the perceived communications gap between government agencies and their suppliers -- while, of course, bringing in revenue.

Identity and access management is at the heart of SISA, which aims to ensure that only authorized personnel can access specific data. With Cisco and EMC providing, respectively, networking and storage hardware, Microsoft will offer digital rights management and identity management software to control who gets access to what. Software from EMC's RSA acquisition will be used to encrypt data. (See EMC Acquires RSA and Tucci Aims for 'One EMC'.)

Other vendors involved in the SISA initiative include digital rights management specialist Liquid Machines, data protection vendor Swan Island Networks, and classification specialist Titus Labs. EMC's SISA manager Francie Kress told Byte and Switch that the door is also open for other storage and security vendors to get involved. "We assume that other people will soon be part of this, but there's nothing to announce."

Kress says the three leading vendors pre-test their SISA offerings, which will be built to order. The vendors' proof-of-concept deployment was in the defense sector, according to the exec. "Our original customer was someone that was dealing with coalition forces and wanted to share sensitive information with their partners," she says. "Before, they could not use technology to share information."

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