CISCO, EMC, Microsoft Initiate SISA Alliance

Cisco, EMC Corp., and Microsoft Corp. and three other technology
vendors have formed an alliance to create a comprehensive, secure
information sharing architecture (SISA) capable of meeting
government requirements for sharing sensitive information securely.
The SISA initiative is expected to combine industry-leading
applications, information infrastructure, and networking
technologies in an architecture intended to protect the end-to-end
sharing of information while also protecting customers’
existing information technology investments, according to a release
made available by Microsoft early this morning.

Historically, technologies used to protect information have been
installed and enforced system-by-system, creating islands of
protected data. SISA would make it easier for government agencies
to bridge those islands by setting up highly secure virtual
networks for different authorized users and communities to access
sensitive files stored in different information protection systems.
Public health officials in a proposed SISA-enabled environment, for
instance, could monitor confidential data on pandemics found in the
databases maintained by various government agencies and private
sector organizations and develop better coordinated responses.

Steve Cooper, former chief information officer for the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security and now CIO of the Red Cross,
acknowledged the potential for SISA and applauded the move by
Cisco, EMC, and Microsoft to come together in providing a
multi-vendor architecture for sharing information across different
government agencies. As initially envisioned, Cisco would bring its
networking solutions to the alliance and provide network
protection, highly secure virtualized network links, and data
protection for sharing sensitive information across the network
platform. EMC, with its networked storage systems, would provide
information management and security software, and provide a
flexible information infrastructure for storing, managing and
protecting critical and sensitive data. And Microsoft would provide
identity management tools, client and network operating systems,
and a collaboration framework that helps keep content in the hands
of authorized users.

The SISA Alliance also includes three other technology vendors
that bring specialized capabilities to meet specific requirements.
They include:

  • Liquid Machines in Waltham, Mass., would provide solutions that
    enhance the SISA content-protection capabilities by extending the
    Microsoft Digital Rights Management technology.

  • Swan Island Networks, Inc. in Portland, Ore., would provide
    designs for and operate sensitive information-sharing systems.

  • Titus Labs in Ottawa, Canada, would provide information
    labeling and classification solutions that determine how content
    protection should be applied.

The six companies have agreed to employ a “partner-led
go-to-market strategy,” according to the release, and will
complete with a three tier certification program, allowing
potential SISA customers to select from a range of Delivery
Partners offering a variety of strategy, technology and business
services. SISA Delivery Partners reportedly will receive SISA
training as part of the certification program that will validate
the capabilities of system integrators and other professional
service firms to provide implementation, administration, and
analysis support to SISA customers.

The SISA Alliance will be managed by Addx Corp., a principal
provider of information and management sciences services. For more
information on SISA and the Alliance, go to:

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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