Advocates for the premium security services offered by enterprise cloud computing found an ally recently in the U.S. Department of Defense, which is seeking a contractor to build them a private cloud. Their objective is to migrate key data storage and operations considerations to the cloud in the effort to foster a more secure and efficient information environment, the organization stated on their government website.

The DoD is putting $450 million behind the efforts of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to seek a cloud contractor, reported InformationWeek. It stipulates the need for a "commercial cloud service" provider to work with the DoD according to their needs. At least some of the environment will have to be constructed on private clouds according to high-functionality enterprise-class cloud computing standards. This foray into cloud computing is the second for U.S. intelligence organizations, following a $600 million CIA investment in cloud services, and demonstrates the vital solutions that enterprise clouds can offer for data protection and restricted access on the national scale.

"The two contracts illustrate how necessary the federal government consider it to have access to large amounts of flexible, cloud services," InformationWeek editor Charles Babcock reported. "Cloud computing has attained status as a technology well defined enough to put hundreds of millions of federal dollars into it."

Security, mobility, efficiency define DoD cloud needs
The DoD is prioritizing many of the same features that businesses pay the most attention to in building their enterprise cloud services. Data security, user mobility and processing efficiency are the main targets of the DoD's desired cloud services, according to a statement by Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr.

"We want to be able to normalize our networks to have the collaboration and information moving over our networks [without] different firewalls and separate networks to get those things done," stated Hawkins.

Consolidating the DoD's information networks into a single, optimized infrastructure will benefit their safety efforts, heighten accountability and ensure that critical national data cannot be accessed by an unauthorized source. Mobility is especially important in the age of global security intelligence, as the cloud will enable soldiers and officers around the world to have access to real-time updated information so critical to national security initiatives and international protection. One model similar to IaaS cloud offerings that is already in use by the DoD is an enterprise email system that has increased collaboration between the DISA and the army and will likely save hundreds of millions of dollars, which can then be redeployed in other mission-critical areas.

The enterprise cloud – the best line of defense?
The migration to enterprise cloud services sought by the DoD is indicative of its vitality and premium protection during a time in which wars are increasingly being fought over computers and networks. Cloud computing can provide the necessary level of protection to be the best line of defense for the U.S. in the event of cyberwarfare, according to SiliconANGLE. They cited enhanced environmental control and consolidation as two of the main benefits that government agencies could rely on for more efficient use of information in instances when time is a limited quantity.