February 11, 2016
IBM’s cloud services have been given the authority to handle Defense Department data at the highest impact level for controlled unclassified information, giving DOD agencies a second commercial option for managing highly sensitive data.
IBM Cloud has been granted a conditional authority to operate by the Defense Information Systems Agency, paving the way for the New York-based tech giant to handle data at Impact Level 5. For the past 18 months, Amazon Web Services has been the only cloud service provider allow to handle all levels of unclassified data.
IBM’s cloud is hosted out the Navy-owned Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in West Virginia, giving agencies the option for their own private cloud or hybrid model.
“Department of Defense agencies have the opportunity to embrace commercial cloud best practices and technology with the security of a government-owned facility,” said Sam Gordy, General Manager for IBM Federal. “It will also provide DOD agencies with an ideal option to launch workloads in a hybrid cloud that can be easily integrated with their on premise systems. DOD is serving as a strong model to other cabinet level agencies in the federal government.”
Due to being located at a Navy installation, IBM will be able to directly connect to DOD’s internal network, the Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router, or NIPRNet.
“ABL has long been a vital asset to our Nation’s defense. First as a Naval Industrial Reserve Ordinance Plant (NIROP) since World War II and, in recent decades, a secure, resilient information technology hub,” said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in an accompanying release. “The DOD, the Intelligence Community and other federal agencies will be well served by this ABL certification.”
DOD has made a concerted effort to reduce their spend on IT over the past few years. In documents related to the proposed 2017 budget, DOD notes that reforms put in place in FY2015 — which include how the department buys IT — is aimed to save the department up to $6 billion.