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Cloud computing as best defense: A secure bunker for critical data

For the world’s militaries, the cloud’s time is now. We’ve mapped out a plan to make that happen.

Overview

 

Defense agencies are increasingly tapping the cloud to transform the way they manage information and operations while maintaining airtight security around critical data.

Military and security organizations rely on an unerring ability to understand and share information and use it for actionable insights. But the sensitivity and sheer volume of this information presents hurdles.

That’s propelling a shift away from expensive, device-centric views of computer systems toward a more efficient perspective centered on information, applications and the people who use them. This worldview is enabled and empowered by the cloud.

As a result, more and more defense agencies are piloting and implementing cloud-based solutions, drawing on proven expertise developed in the private sector.

More defense agencies are implementing cloud-based solutions, drawing on proven expertise and knowledge developed in the private sector.

Background

All activities undertaken and overseen by defense agencies need timely, accurate and comprehensive data.

Overseeing each area of operations depends on an unerring ability to manage, understand, share and secure information, and to use it to drive and apply accurate and actionable insights.

In seeking to achieve these goals, however, defense agencies face significant hurdles in terms of the sheer volume, diversity and sensitivity of the information they hold.

Agencies worldwide are beginning to move away from expensive, device-centric views of computer information systems toward a more efficient perspective centered on information, applications and the people who use them.

This is the view of the world enabled and empowered by cloud computing. As a result, more and more defense agencies are piloting and implementing cloud-based solutions, drawing on proven expertise and knowledge developed in private-sector, commercial and other government clouds.

Analysis

Cloud technologies are converging rapidly with mobility and analytics to open up new opportunities in all industries, including defense.

Despite the benefits, concerns remain—especially around security. The good news is that cloud-computing architectures have the capabilities to address these concerns.

Defense agencies aim for the efficiencies available from a public cloud, but also a secure environment.

The key to achieving this twin goal is to choose the cloud model that provides an appropriate balance between cost, effectiveness and control for each application, based on the sensitivity of the data and insights involved.

Defense agencies adopting cloud technology are finding it makes sense to rationalize the IT environment, making it more homogeneous based on common infrastructure components.

This means bidding farewell to the fragmented “silos of application excellence” model.

Instead, they’re shifting to a virtualized infrastructure environment standardized around one preferred storage provider, one database platform, one set of network monitoring tools, and so on.

Having taken this step, the agency’s IT function can then work with each application team to plan how their apps can be aligned and integrated with this new environment.

The benefits will soon begin to flow: once the cloud data center is established, its scale will mean each new component or application added will make it more efficient.

Key Findings

Defense agencies will increasingly apply cloud, mobility and analytics in combination, often with game-changing impacts.

Here are six ways the cloud will change how agencies operate:

  • Doing more at higher pace and lower cost.

  • Stronger IT security and resistance to cyber-attacks.

  • Seamless global data sharing—enhancing responsiveness, interoperability and collaboration.

  • More secure, efficient logistics and supply chains.

  • Enhanced situational awareness, visibility into the “last tactical mile” and in-theater decisions.

  • Integrated global Identity and Access Management.

As military and security organizations increase utilization of the cloud, they will discover this technology’s unique attributes as an ever greater enhancer of key defense capabilities.

Recommendations

We devised a three-phase maturity model (see below) to help defense organizations map a path to cloud maturity:

  • Level 1—The journey starts with selected back-end functionalities within branches, enhancing collaboration capabilities and increasing storage.

  • Level 2—The scope can expand across branches in selected functional areas (for example, human resources or finance) to increase analytical capacities, thereby reducing costs and making complex and time-consuming tasks routine.

  • Level 3—The final step includes sharing functionalities across branches with all levels of security classification to produce real-time intelligence, exploit data, increase efficiency, enhance mission effectiveness and strengthen cyber-resilience.

To get the most out of the cloud, we recommend defense agencies:

  • Realize all the available value from Level 1.

  • Proactively and systematically explore opportunities at Level 2.

  • Prepare for Level 3 as the cloud matures, and as the depth and scope of the cloud ecosystem increases.

The migration to cloud is likely to take several years but it is coming, and it’s bringing implications that will forever change the way military organizations function.

Now is the time to start planning the journey and preparing the right IT architecture to begin the transition.

Mapping a Path to Cloud Maturity

Leading defense organizations will use cloud’s unique characteristics based on a well formed cloud strategy, assessment, and migration plan

Accenture Defense Cloud Maturity