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As aerospace and defense (A&D) manufacturers balance agility and speed with the need for ever-increasing vigilance and security, they are also facing the daunting task of keeping IT systems aligned with their changing business strategies.
This conflict of speed versus security is especially challenging in the area of cloud computing.
The Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Science Board recently invested months to produce a report titled Cyber Security and Reliability in a Digital Cloud. To me, it’s clear they’re seeing value in cloud computing beyond cost reduction.
The 76-page report shows how the DOD, working in coordination with key commercial partners, is successfully managing the inherent conflict of agility and speed versus the need for vigilance and ever-greater levels of security.
In many industries, risk-averse CIOs and IT professionals have completely ruled out cloud-based applications and platforms from their IT strategies.
This is a shame because — as the DOD staff points out in the study — they’re missing out on the ability to make their businesses more agile and quicker to respond to changing conditions while also aligning every department to the fulfillment of a mission.
The DOD task force finds that, in many cases, deploying applications to cloud computing data centers increased cyber security, especially against less sophisticated threats. The team also concludes that cloud-based platforms are the most effective technology available for tracking, analyzing, and thwarting both simple and complex attacks.
Using advanced analytics and tracking algorithms, the DOD makes the observation that cloud computing data centers are significantly more secure than on-premise systems or the use of public cloud architectures.
Here is what I found to be particularly noteworthy in this study:
Making cloud computing even more secure needs to begin with a distributed data center strategy — one that ensures robust and elastic computing capacity across the global network of systems that the DOD and its branches rely upon. The authors of the study caution against a single Fort Knox-like approach to defining data center design and implementation, citing too many vulnerabilities. Instead, they recommend geographically distributed data centers supported with satellite links for real-time integration and support of collaborative workflows. The figure at right illustrates this concept.
Bottom line: All of these findings taken together show how enterprises can use security as a competitive advantage as well. With the DOD’s findings, it is clear that cloud platforms have the potential to quickly enable strategies and ensure their attainment, all in secured environments.