Navy accelerates mass migration to the cloud
By Security Television Network, Author: by Katherine Owens, Warrior Maven
September 19, 2021 (Security television network) – Data collection and storage is crucial for every facet of the Navy’s mission.
“You are among the first to switch to Flank Speed M365”
(Washington DC) In the coming weeks, this sentence will be emailed to 266,000 Navy personnel. This will be the first of many emails sent to Navy sailors, both active and reserve duty, civilians and contractors, announcing the final step in the Navy’s transition to the cloud.
Collecting and storing data is critical to every facet of the Navy’s mission. From the operation of the Navy’s largest aircraft carriers to the secure retention of personnel records, data is at the heart of the Navy’s digital transformation.
“Putting data at the center of our decision-making and transforming the way we innovate, deliver new capabilities and conduct business operations,” states the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan for Naval Maritime Systems Warfare. “The transformation of our digital capabilities will affect all aspects of our business. “
A major part of the Navy’s digital transformation has been the transition from data storage to the cloud. Joe Gradisher, a Navy public affairs officer, told Warrior Maven, “The Navy, like all other services, has tried to move to the cloud. [Cloud] is more secure, has more storage, and the ability to do more things.
The evolution of the Flank Speed M365 Cloud has been facilitated by the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented need for remote networking and data access. To resolve this issue over the past year, the DoD has used the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) environment in all branches of service. The CVR platform enabled remote access to essential applications for virtual work, including Microsoft Teams.
However, Gradisher explains: “[CVR] was never intended to be a long-term solution, it was put in place just because of the increase in staff telecommuting. This is why from June 1, 2021, Navy personnel will have access to the latest innovations in cloud environment: Flank Speed M365. The Microsoft 365 Flank Speed Platform (M365) represents the future of secure cloud data storage for the Navy.
Flank Speed M365, nicknamed “Flank Speed” or “Flank Speed Cloud”, is a secure cloud productivity environment. It is being implemented in a phased approach, so on June 1 the first 266,000 staff will be notified that they can log into their Flank Speed accounts. These users will be familiar with most of the tools that are initially available to them, as Flank Speed hosts Microsoft apps like Outlook mail service, OneDrive storage, and Teams. However, one major difference that Gradisher notes will be the 1 terabyte of storage designated for each user. Gradisher explains, “The limitations of the software we had over the last year are that our email was filling up because we didn’t have enough storage space and we didn’t have file space. . “
Not only will Navy personnel have the capacity to store more data, but the increased security of Flank Speed means that the data stored can also be more sensitive now. “That’s a key part of that,” says Gradisher, “You just have to open a newspaper or go to a website to see the cybersecurity issues today. Flank Speed gives us increased security and control of the application.
Flank Speed has the security capability for Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and is Impact Level (IL) 5. According to the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide, an IL classification is based on the combination of the sensitivity of the data stored and processed in the cloud and “the potential impact of an event that results in the loss of confidentiality, integrity or availability of this information”.
One of the reasons for the increased safety offered by Flank Speed is that instead of being commercially operated for Navy use like the CVR was, Flank Speed will be used by the Navy and operated by Marine. This aligns with the new cloud policy signed by the Navy’s CIO about six months ago.
For the Navy, the new policy represents a change from the acquisition of cloud services which was dispersed among different Navy offices and contracts. Instead, cloud services will be the responsibility of a single office, the Program Executive Office for Digital and Enterprise Services (PEO Digital), thus increasing oversight of cloud services used by the Navy for funding and funding purposes. security.
“One of the big lessons we learned was that when the cloud was enveloped in [other contracts], this created a risk for the Department of the Navy to understand where our data was and how security was being implemented, ”said Travis Methvin, project manager at Naval Commercial Cloud Services.
Flank Speed can also provide increased security for Navy personnel due to the nature of the cloud itself. “Cloud” refers to the system for processing and storing data in massive servers or data centers with a computing capacity far beyond that of a single agency’s servers. Cloud servers are operated by cloud providers, such as Google or Microsoft, and are hosted in data centers across the United States.
Cloud users access their data on these servers through any internet connection. Although it requires
Sophisticated computer hardware, according to Microsoft, the key to cloud security is constant software innovation.
“One of the basic things people should understand about cloud service providers is that security and compliance are really essential,” says Doug Cahill, senior cybersecurity analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc.
The cloud “reached its maturity” in an environment where cybersecurity threats were already a constant reality. Therefore, security measures have been part of cloud software from day one and because it is a virtual environment, cloud developers are constantly able to innovate and adapt their software to counter the latest threat.
Microsoft Azure, the most robust cloud service offered by Microsoft, benefits from the data collected from hundreds of thousands of cyberattacks attempted every day. By thwarting these attacks, Microsoft and other cloud service providers are able to study them to develop new security measures and prevention software. A business like the Navy devotes resources to personnel management, weapon systems development, base physical security, strategic operations around the world, and many other tasks. When Navy hands over data processing and storage to the cloud, that means 100% of Microsoft Azure’s resources are devoted to securing that data, says a senior Microsoft Azure official.
It is this innovation and this protection that Flank Speed will bring from June 1st. According to
Gradisher, by FY 22, “everyone with an account in the Navy – that’s all sailors, all officers, all civilians, all contractors who work for the Navy will move to Flank Speed.” This means Flank Speed will arrive on the Navy’s largest platforms, including aircraft carriers and amphibious vehicles.
A report prepared by the RAND National Defense Research Institute (NDRI) for the Navy predicted that the number of sensor platforms operated by the Navy on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) alone would almost double between FY12 and FY20. Each sensor on these platforms is a source of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data, which provides key spatial, atmospheric, and tracking information to ships, from submarines to amphibious transport ships, and more. by guided missile destroyers. As the report states, “the navy considers the data collected through ISR to be essential to situational awareness, which it sees as a vital technological advantage.” However, the navy’s sensory data is as valuable as its ability to process it.
This is why Flank Speed and other Navy cloud integrations are so important. On board
Computer systems are inundated with data, whether it is stored emails or ISR data, Navy analysts are unable to process it effectively and translate it into the strategic advantage that the Navy ISR technology promises to deliver. Access to high-caliber cloud storage and processing capacity could solve this problem.
According to the NDRI report, the Navy’s complete transition to the cloud could mean that “all organic sensor data is ingested and then transmitted, on demand, to clouds on land. This would enable distributed analytics and alerts initiated by strategic and tactical users. The goal is to exponentially increase the operational relevance of sensor data collected remotely. This data would be detectable and transmitted on request.
Flank Speed Cloud derives its name from the nautical order for the full speed of the engine used to escape danger and it is an apt name. With every Sailor, Officer and Navy civilian who logs into their Flank Speed account for the first time, the Navy comes even closer to outperforming and surpassing its rivals for decades to come.
Katherine Owens is Editorial Director at Warrior Maven. Previously, she wrote for Defense Systems and holds a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University, where she studied security policy and specialized in arms control and nuclear deterrence. Katherine will attend Columbia University in the fall of 2021, where she will earn an MA in Political Science from Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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