Cisco's SD-WAN service has notched "in process" status from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) to help federal agencies tap into cloud-based solutions to increase efficiency. Cisco is laying claim to being the first SD-WAN vendor to achieve the "in process" designation from FedRAMP.
The next FedRAMP step for Cisco is "authorization to operate," which could be granted by July. The FedRAMP program provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. The General Services Administration (GSA) established the FedRAMP Program Management Office (PMO) in 2012. The FedRAMP program helps U.S. government agencies and their critical infrastructure accelerate their IT modernization and cloud adoption journey.
Cisco offers several flavors of SD-WAN, including Meraki and Viptela. Cisco's Viptela SD-WAN offering is the company's first SD-WAN solution to receive the "in-process" designation by FedRAMP.
"With an upcoming FedRAMP authorization, Cisco SD-WAN is aligned to help U.S. government agencies and their critical infrastructure with their IT modernization journey to align with the Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) 3.0 guidance, and adopt cloud services with confidence," said Cisco's Nick Michaelides, SVP of U.S. Public Sector, in a blog post. "At Cisco, we understand that it’s the mission that matters to our government customers. So we recognize the need for agility in mission movement, removing complexity and deploying proven and compliant solutions with the highest level of security."
Cloud-based SD-WAN is a good match for sprawling federal agencies that have hundreds or thousands of branch office locations. In particular, Cisco's SD-WAN aligns with the 2018 U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Cloud Strategy objectives. In an email to FierceTelecom, Cisco said its SD-WAN offering "meets the requirements for massive scale architecture able to meet the data growth demanded to maintain the DoD’s strategic technology advantage."
The DoD Cloud Strategy is separate from the Pentagon's $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract, which was awarded to Microsoft on Oct. 25 but is being contested by Amazon.
Using SD-WAN, federal civilian agencies can also reap the same benefits found in the private sector including centralized management, self-healing networks and application service level agreements to increase network support without additional IT staff. Businesses and government agencies are increasingly using software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications and services, such as Microsoft 365 or Salesforce, across multi-cloud environments, which are driving SD-WAN partnerships with the large cloud providers.
Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are two prime examples of companies that have gained their FedRAMP certifications from the U.S. government in order to win their own procurement contracts
Cisco said that next generation 911 IP-based networks would also benefit from Cisco’s SD-WAN topology flexibility and transport independence. SD-WAN enables first responders—police, fire, EMS and hospitals—to collaborate effectively. Automated routing policies ensure the quality of 911 calls, whether over the phone, text or video. Additionally, traffic can be rerouted automatically should public safety answering point (PSAP) networks become congested or overloaded.
"In addition to the listing of Cisco SD-WAN as 'in process' on the FedRAMP Marketplace, we also welcome Cisco Duo, for unified access security, to our growing portfolio of FedRAMP offerings," Michaelides said. "Plus, Cisco’s Cloudlock is already helping agencies secure cloud identities, data and applications by empowering actionable cybersecurity intelligence and reliable visibility and control in mission-critical cloud environments."
Cisco also has FedRAMP authorized solutions in place for Cisco Webex Meetings, Cisco Hosted Collaboration for Government and Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution for Defense.