|With Cisco's VirtualCOOP and Crisis Management -- To Be Showcased At FOSE -- Agencies Enable Alternate Facilities, Implement Interoperable Communications and Protect Vital Information|
Cisco Systems(R), Inc. (Nasdaq:CSCO) today introduced an integrated network architecture designed to help U.S. federal-government agencies comply with federal mandates for Continuity of Operations (COOP). Cisco's VirtualCOOP Solution and MeetingPlace Crisis Management Application enable agencies to operate fully during and following natural or intentional disasters. The Cisco architecture also helps agencies fulfill the federal government's telework mandate. Cisco will showcase its COOP offering April 5-7 in Booth 3019 at FOSE, the Federal Office Systems Expo, at the Washington (D.C.) Convention Center.
Through highly secure, always-on VPN tunnels across broadband networks, Cisco's VirtualCOOP Solution helps enable offsite agency personnel to remain connected via high-availability networks to data centers and their key business applications. These key personnel, thus, are assisted in retaining access to voice, e-mail and video communications and business applications, while management retains secure, centralized control. Cisco's Crisis Management Application allows dispersed disaster-response teams to plan through emergencies and threats. A "dial blast" goes out (up to three numbers each are dialed for predetermined individuals), immediately engaging response teams in an integrated voice, data and video conference with participation limited to invitees.
"Cisco's COOP solution is unique in its breadth of technology that can be combined in a complete, standards-based solution with QoS (Quality of Service), security and even VPN (virtual private network) management integrated end to end," said Bruce Klein, federal area vice president, Cisco Systems. "If an agency's attempt to address COOP is piecemeal, essential functions like securing the network, turning up features or provisioning QoS in quick, automated ways become very complicated or even impossible. Plus, with the Cisco solutions, agencies cost-effectively address two federal mandates with a single investment."
Cisco began development of its COOP architecture specifically in response to the government mandate detailed in Federal Preparedness Circular 65 (FPC 65), issued June 15, 2004.
"COOP is defined as the activities of individual departments and agencies and their sub-components to ensure that their essential functions are performed. This includes plans and procedures (to) ... identify alternate operating facilities; provide for interoperable communications; and validate the capability through tests, training, and exercises," FPC 65 states. "All Federal agencies, regardless of location, shall have in place a viable COOP capability to ensure continued performance of essential functions from alternate operating sites during any emergency or situation that may disrupt normal operations. ... COOP planning is simply a 'good business practice' -- a part of the fundamental mission of agencies as responsible and reliable public institutions."
FPC 65 includes sections that stipulate technical requirements for an effective COOP solution, including "Annex E -- Alternate Operating Facilities," "Annex F -- Interoperable Communications" and "Annex G -- Vital Files, Records and Databases (identification, protection, and ready availability)." Cisco's VirtualCOOP and Crisis Management solutions help federal agencies achieve these three sets of requirements. Network-based Cisco technologies in storage, data center solutions, optical networking and Internet Protocol (IP) Communications -- built on a highly available and highly secure networking foundation -- support the remaining COOP technical requirements with investment protection and intelligent network services such as AutoQoS, AutoSecure and Smartports.
Cisco's COOP architecture provides resilience at four interdependent layers:
-- Network -- through component-, device-, solution- and system-level redundancy, as well as high-availability networking technologies and best practices in network design and operations;
-- Application -- through business-ready data center solutions, application- and content-delivery services, storage networking and data replication;
-- Communications -- through distributed, central office-based gateways and distributed call centers for IP Communications with integrated messaging, Intermediate Session Routing (ISR) services and crisis management; and
-- Workforce -- through wired and wireless integration, "office-in-a-box" capabilities and telework solutions.
Cisco has a team of network professionals to assist agencies in meeting COOP objectives. The Advanced Services Network Availability Improvement Support (NAIS) team benchmarks existing agency processes against best practices and can address a wide variety of functional areas including fault detection, configuration, performance, security and design.
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