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How to Scale and Secure your Cloud Management for Defense Applications

Department of Defense (DoD) organizations worldwide have scalability, performance, and usability constraints across their cloud access points due to legacy networking architectures. These difficulties, paired with increased security threats and broader calls for innovation across DoD, are driving agency leaders to embrace a new kind of networking infrastructure that offers the latest in both existing and emerging technologies.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with GovExec, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), and Palo Alto Networks to discuss a secure cloud access solution that DIU is implementing in a production environment after a successful year-long prototype.

This work is exciting because it gives those who serve our country in uniform or as civilians improved access to the tools they need to fulfill their missions. And DIU was well suited to lead this effort, given their charter of collaborating with industry to bring the best of commercial innovation to the DoD.

In partnership with Palo Alto Networks, we built a secure cloud access solution that allows DIU users to access services in any commercial cloud environment, while performing the required security actions of logging, threat analysis, and session control. In essence, this solution empowers DIU users to securely access information they need, when they need it, while eliminating the scalability, performance, and usability constraints of the legacy approach. Agency IT leaders have the control, governance, and cyber insights they want without slowing down cloud applications. 

Our work on this impactful prototype project not only received a success memo but was selected by DIU as the solution to implement in production. We are honored to help DoD users more easily access the myriad of cloud services they use on a daily basis more quickly.

So where do we go from here? DIU has demonstrated that DoD users can securely access cloud services with minimal latency and high performance—even as the number of users scales. As a defense organization chartered with helping the entire Department embrace the use of commercial technology, DIU enables other DoD organizations to adopt the same solution and benefit from a streamlined acquisition.

The hybrid architecture of Google Cloud’s secure cloud access solution will support other secure access uses as well–not just accessing cloud applications. Our broader secure access solution is called Secure Application Access Anywhere, and it is configurable for any environment and any use case, whether for accessing applications in the cloud or on-premises, outside the organization, or even through mobile devices. 

The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is also considering the secure cloud access solution as an alternative to the Cloud Access Point (CAP). DISA has been involved with the project since its inception, and their work granting CAP equivalency and authorizing the service will help improve adoption of this agile capability—enabling 4 million Department of Defense users to securely and efficiently use cloud services to serve their mission.

Visit our Google Cloud for Department of Defense website for more information on our work with Defense customers.

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