How DISA is using secure clouds

Friday - 8/27/2010, 5:35pm EDT

Security is always a concern, but nowhere is it more important than at a place like the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Henry Sienkiewicz, chief information officer at DISA and tells us all about how they’re using secure clouds at his agency.

FCB: DISA runs RACE. It runs forge.mil, which was just used by the Army for its Apps for the Army program. What does the future hold?

HS: We actually just see a continual growth and emphasis on this. We, as an organization, have completely embraced the idea of agile dynamic provisioning — secure, scalable, elastic — I don’t want to keep using all of those buzz words, because I think, at times, we have all been Power Pointed to death, but using partnerships like Apps for the Army, has been able to allow us to recraft this as a market offering.

We internally learned a lot of lessons. We learned lessons about private code branding so that we were able to give the Army their own portal. We learned lessons about allowing middleware applications. I think you’re going to still see those other partnerships, or you’re going to see partnerships with organizations that are also pushing this envelope, like Transcom — where [leaders] are creating things like the Knowledge Management Lab out at Scott Air Force Base that are really embracing the exact same principles.

So, you’re going to see us having that continued emphasis on innovative service delivery — RACE, forge.mil. Also, when you look across that entire stack of cloud computing — global content delivery system — we’re just seeing more and more adoption of that. The 56 nodes are up and running and we’re adding more products every day. We’re working on things like enterprise recursive services.

You’re still seeing DISA looking across the entire stack and using [NIST's] definition of the cloud for platform and infrastructure applications and software. You’re seeing a concerted push across all of those environments from the DISA family.

FCB: From your perspective internally, now, obviously you used to look more externally, now you’re looking more internally. Are you guys within DISA using RACE and forge.mil to address internal needs?

HS: Most assuredly. We have to embrace internally and use ourselves as the initial test bed for some of these things. I think one of the better examples — we were the test bed [for the DoD Visitor].

We put it up, we installed it onto our internal production system immediately. It is that ability to use your CAC card to login and sign in to a computer anywhere in the department. I was the one who accredited it for the department, and in my role as the DISA CIO — I also was the first one to install it on a production network. So, you’re going to see more of that activity, as well. We’re going to test and try it internally before we launch it out to the rest of the marketplace.

FCB: Has this been tested and tried so far within DISA?

HS: We actually have it up on our production network already, and we’re also seeing adoption across the department.

Hear more from Henry Sienkiewicz on Ask the CIO.