News Release

Cisco, EMC, Microsoft Align to Offer Comprehensive Technology Architecture for Helping Protect and Share Sensitive Government Information

SISA Alliance unites industry leaders to produce a breakthrough in sensitive information exchange for government and private sector
Jul 10, 2007

WASHINGTON - July 10, 2007 - Cisco®, EMC® Corp. and Microsoft Corp. today announced the formation of an alliance of technology vendors that will offer one of the most comprehensive, security-enhanced, commercial, multi-vendor, end-to-end information-sharing technology architectures for helping protect and share sensitive government information. The Secure Information Sharing Architecture (SISA) combines industry-leading applications, information infrastructure, and networking technologies to help protect customers' existing information technology (IT) investments. This architecture offers a consistent approach for breaking down the barriers across traditional organizational and jurisdictional IT infrastructure boundaries, so sensitive human resources, financial and other information that is critical to mission accomplishment can have increased protection and be shared among authorized communities more effectively than if they were not to deploy SISA.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. governmental agencies have increased their focus on protecting sensitive content from being lost or stolen, while simultaneously working to create a more connected government. Better and more secure connectivity will enable sharing sensitive content across government agencies. Cisco, EMC and Microsoft, with support from other industry leaders, founded the SISA Alliance to develop IT architectures that permit only authorized personnel access to specific information while easing the management of shared, protected information across trusted communities.

"While government is attempting to break down the barriers between organizations to enable information sharing, it is also struggling with numerous high-profile data loss incidents. Breaking down barriers between government and partner organizations will require better confidence in the ability to keep information in the hands of only the appropriate users," said Steve Cooper, former chief information officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "I applaud Cisco, EMC and Microsoft for coming together to provide us with a multivendor architecture for sharing information across different agencies so government agencies can collaborate better and respond more effectively where and when they are needed."

Historically, information protection technologies have been enforced system-by-system, creating islands of protected data. Some government agencies are having trouble providing role-based access to sensitive content within their own organizations, and the problems become much more difficult when sharing sensitive content across different agencies. By utilizing SISA, government agencies can more easily set up security-enhanced, virtual networks for different authorized users and communities to access sensitive files stored in different information protection systems. SISA will enable new scenarios for cross-government information sharing. For example, in the future SISA could be deployed to allow public health officials to monitor confidential data on pandemics found in different government agencies and private sector databases, and coordinate necessary response efforts with both government agencies and critical private sector partners.

Cisco, EMC and Microsoft are providing the core commercial off-the-shelf technology that makes up SISA to ease the sharing of information contained in disparate IT infrastructures. Through its industry-leading networking solutions, Cisco provides network protection, security-enhanced virtualized network links, and data protection features for sharing sensitive information across the network platform. EMC's networked storage systems, information management and security software provides a flexible information infrastructure for storing, managing and helping protect critical and sensitive data. Microsoft provides identity management, client and network operating systems, and a collaboration framework that helps keep content in the hands of authorized users.

The SISA Alliance also includes technology vendors that bring innovative approaches to fulfill specific requirements. Liquid Machines in Waltham, Mass., provides solutions that enhance the SISA content-protection capabilities by extending the Microsoft® Digital Rights Management technology. Swan Island Networks, Inc. in Portland, Ore., designs and operates sensitive information-sharing systems. Titus Labs in Ottawa, Canada, offers information labeling and classification solutions that determine how content protection should be applied. As customers' needs evolve, the alliance will incorporate additional technology vendors to bring innovative approaches to fulfill other specific requirements.

Six companies are working together to deliver a technology architecture for helping to protect and share sensitive information for governments. This working relationship highlights the complexity of SISA and showcases the need for a well-defined go-to-market strategy. The companies have agreed to employ a partner-led go-to-market strategy, 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 will receive SISA training as part of the certification program that will validate the capabilities of systems integrators and other professional service firms to provide implementation, administration and analysis support to SISA customers.

The formalized business alliance will be managed by Addx Corp., a principal provider of information and management sciences services. With the goal of providing the full range of technical and program services to all customers, Addx established the SISA Joint Program Office to manage both the solution architecture and the systems integrator certification process. For more information on SISA and the Alliance, go to: