The Department of Defense has announced its intention to store sensitive documents in the cloud, and is in the process of vetting service providers interested in supporting the agency's platform. The DoD currently utilizes cloud services to store low-level documents, but this marks the first time cloud storage has been proposed for highly classified files. The information suggested for storage in the cloud is labeled Level 6, which is assessed as information that could put people in grave danger.
To address security fears, the agency is pursuing two methods of keeping documents protected. The first involves the DoD leasing floor space to vendors who would then install an on-site system. The second would see cloud providers send the agency server equipment that the DoD would set up and manage. The latter method calls for a cloud vendor to create a bespoke data center within a standard shipping container. The container would be outfitted with all the necessary equipment and then sent to the DoD, where it would be installed and provided with power and cooling capabilities.
Whichever method the agency follows through with, it will involve creating a physical connection to a government data server instead of sending encrypted documents over the Internet. While the DoD is employing a private cloud solution and is suggesting some unusual methods, the proposal to store highly sensitive federal documents in the cloud points to a change in view on the security of cloud computing.
The agency has clearly embraced the technology as not only efficient and convenient, but also safe and secure. By utilizing a cloud-based storage service, the DoD will be able to reduce costs dramatically. Everything will be kept in a central location and physical documents can be removed, saving valuable building space and lower the amount of money spent on paper and ink.
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