Building on its Webex product line, Cisco plans to deliver an air-gapped, cloud-based collaboration system  for companies involved in US national security and defense work, extending the secure offerings the company already provides to industries that require collaboration tools with strong security measures to meet US government requirements.

Beginning in 2024, the new Webex system — Air-Gapped Trusted Cloud — will provide an added layer of security for teams collaborating through the Webex App, Cisco said.

An air gap is a security measure that involves isolating a computer or network and preventing it from establishing an external connection. For example, an air-gapped computer is unable to connect to the internet or any other communications networks so as to have complete security with the information that resides within it.

Currently, the US government has an established approach to security assessment and authorization for cloud products and services for national security and defense. This includes air-gapped cloud deployments, which are isolated from public networks and operated on US soil by local staff with specific security clearances to handle sensitive data.

With the upcoming system for air-gapped cloud deployments, Cisco says that the new Webex tools will meet the security standards required by US agencies involved in national security and defense without compromising user experience.

“We have augmented our Webex collaboration solution with additional government-required security controls and operational capabilities so it can be deployed in a disconnected environment,” said Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager for security and collaboration at Cisco. “This approach allows us to offer the modern experience to the National Security and Defense community.”

Cisco commits to FedRAMP requirements

In addition, Cisco has reaffirmed its commitment to providing on-premises solutions for top-secret collaboration —  including calling, messaging, meetings, and file sharing — by bringing its enterprise-grade security in line with requirements set out by FedRAMP, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, which provides a standardized approach to security authorizations for cloud service offerings.

The company also said that all fully compliant collaboration systems for government will take into account local regulations, compliance requirements and security controls for individual government communities.

This product is built specifically for companies working on national security and defense projects to address their specific network and data handling requirements and therefore will not be available to customers outside this sector, Patel said, adding that defense contractors can choose to use it when working on government contracts that require the level of security provided by the product.

“While this announcement is specific to national security and sefense, we’ll continue to innovate in developing fully compliant, customized collaboration solutions across all facets of government” a blog post announcing the news said.