cloud hosted collaboration (Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com)

Cisco offers communications services platform for agencies

The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program has approved the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution for Government (HCS-G) for agency and federal contractor use.

HCS-G combines Cisco's WebEx system for voice and voice conferencing with several other voice-over-IP products and services including desktop phones, instant messaging and smartphone connectivity in a single platform.

Instead of needing to house communications system on premise, HCS-G provides a system that eliminates much of the administrative work for agencies, which in turn lowers costs.

“We are moving onto the cloud and still providing … the same functionality and capabilities,” said Andy Campbell, business development manager for government solutions at Cisco.  “It’s very efficient for an agency to use a model like this because they get all of the capabilities, but they don’t have to do any of the administrative tasks,” he said.

The system includes Cisco Jabber, the company’s unified communications client application, to enable employees’ access to connect the instant messaging, presence, voice, video, voice messaging, desktop sharing and conferencing tools.

“We have taken a lot of the systems that were authorized with voice, video, instant messaging and conference systems and bundled them it all into a hosted collaboration system,”  Dan Kent, Cisco’s U.S. public sector CTO and senior engineering director, told GCN.  “We already have over a million phones deployed in the government, and this system will work on those phones as well.”

HCS-G meets the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s FIPS 140-2 standard for end-to-end encryption to keep communications services secure. 

 “We worked to minimize the risk of the overall system, but deliver the capabilities of the system in the way that the user can have the confidence to use it,” Kent said.  “If the user has confidence that they can interact with the system, it means they will be more likely to actually use the tools to fulfill the mission of their agencies.”

HCS-G was officially authorized on Feb.  23 under the FedRAMP moderate baseline.  The Department of Health and Human Services was the authorizing agency.

Cisco’s WebEx system received approval in 2016 and is currently in use at the Department of Commerce, the Census Bureau and HHS.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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