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Today, communication and networking giant Cisco announced that it would be adding an air-gapped, U.S.-based trusted cloud environment, isolated from public networks and operated by authorized local staff, for Webex to release in 2024.
The solution is designed to enable public sector organizations to conduct virtual meetings and file-sharing remotely, while storing data in the cloud in a way that’s compliant with FedRAMP and other local data protection regulations.
Air gapping data stored in the cloud means that if an attacker manages to gain access to a government entity’s network, they won’t be able to access, modify or destroy data that’s stored in the cloud.
It’s worth noting that organizations in the private sector can also use air gapping to enable employees to access data in the cloud while minimizing potential exposure to unauthorized third parties and compliance liabilities.
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Tackling the data security crisis
The announcement comes not only amid an ongoing cyberwar, but as more critical data assets are stored in the cloud. Research shows that 89% of organizations host sensitive data or workloads in the cloud.
In hybrid working environments where workers are accessing data in the cloud on-demand via work and personal devices, in the office and at home, it’s becoming more and more difficult to control access to sensitive information.
“All levels of government are modernizing and leaning into hybrid work environments to allow workers to stay connected, whether in the office, working remotely or on the go,” said Jeetu Patel, EVP and GM of security and collaboration at Cisco. “Their unique and evolving needs require an added layer of security when it comes to collaboration technology, and workers expect an amazing user experience.”
For U.S. government departments and organizations in regulated industries such as banking, healthcare and finance, there’s little margin for error.
“With national security, and defense in particular, delivering a modern collaboration experience requires the utmost level of security to protect sensitive data that addresses the U.S. government’s established approach to security assessment and authorization for cloud products and services for this community,” said Patel. “This is why we’re announcing that Webex by Cisco will deliver an air-gapped, cloud-based collaboration experience for national security and defense beginning in 2024.”
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