IBM Gains DoD Authorization for Cloud Services


ibm-gains-authorizationThe Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has granted IBM authority to operate IBM Cloud services for Department of Defense (DoD) agencies.

IBM has announced that the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has authorized the company to deliver IBM Cloud services at the highest security levels—known as Impact Level 5—for Controlled Unclassified Information as defined by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The DISA authorization enables DoD agencies to take advantage of IBM’s cloud offerings to support applications and manage sensitive data. DISA has granted IBM a “conditional authority to operate” IBM Cloud services hosted at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory data center in West Virginia, which is owned by the Department of the Navy and leased by IBM.

Big Blue says it is the first cloud provider with a direct connection to the DoD’s internal network known as the Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet). The authorization granted by DISA will give other DoD agencies the opportunity ultimately to streamline their authorizations by taking advantage of the thorough process DISA followed.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

IBM Cloud will provide defense agencies with access to commercial cloud services and technology in a secure environment. The highly secure data center at ABL enables agencies to have dedicated environments, leverage cloud technologies, or choose a hybrid solution where they can connect existing on-premises applications with those that are ready for cloud, migrate existing applications and develop new ones.

As the Department of Defense continues with announced plans to move its data to the cloud, Bloomberg Government estimates that the DoD will spend nearly $4 billion in 2016 on “cloud and provisioned services” taking advantage of the security and flexibility cloud offers, and the ability for agencies to deploy new applications when and where they are needed.

“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 III, D-W.Va., a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, in a statement. “The DoD, the Intelligence Community and other federal agencies will be well served by this ABL certification.”

To further drive innovation around cloud at the ABL facility, IBM has worked closely with the DoD; local universities including Frostburg State University, West Virginia University, Allegany College of Maryland and Potomac State College of WVU; the Greater Cumberland Committee; and others to attract and retain talent who will work on projects critical to the federal government’s cloud strategy.

“This designation is great news for the state of West Virginia and recognizes the high standards upheld at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, in a statement. “This facility plays a critical role in our national defense, and this designation will enable our Defense agencies to securely incorporate the best advanced practices in commercial cloud computing.”

This authorization rounds out the IBM cloud portfolio that IBM offers its federal customers, including services that meet Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements for government workloads.

The DISA authorization comes at a time when IBM is ramping up its overall push to deliver hybrid cloud capabilities to customers in a wide range of industries. In December 2014, IDC named IBM a leader in U.S. government private cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). And last month, two independent reports from Forrester Research and Synergy Research named IBM a leader in hybrid cloud management solutions.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, Bell Business Markets and IBM announced a new partnership to expand the cloud computing services available through Bell Business Cloud. The partnership will give businesses across Canada access to the IBM Cloud via a secure, high-speed private connection from Bell. This will enable customers to adopt and build out their hybrid clouds more easily.

IBM said an increasing amount of organizations are looking for a reliable and secure connection to the cloud that doesn’t rely on sending data over the public Internet. Bell Business Cloud addresses this issue by enabling enterprises to plug into the IBM Cloud to gain access to on-demand computing and storage solutions such as Bell Cloud Connect, which connects Bell’s IP network to IBM Cloud. The Bell Cloud Compute offering runs on IBM Cloud to offer a secure, self-serve environment for managed virtual machines. Bell also offers backup and restore services via IBM Cloud to protect customer data and applications through a secure backup location as well as ensuring availability of data and applications.

“Bell is an established leader in data hosting and cloud computing, providing customers with exceptional support from an expert nationwide team,” said Tom Little, president of Bell Business Markets, in a statement. “With businesses of all kinds increasingly relying on cloud services for their mission critical applications, adding IBM Cloud services to Bell Business Cloud provides customers with the seamless integration, security and dependability they expect and require.”

As Bell’s Business Cloud ecosystem continues to evolve through new partnerships, customers will benefit from additional solutions, enterprise applications and business tools, with the ability to increasingly acquire their technologies on a utility basis, IBM said.

“The world’s appetite for data is increasing and with this comes a greater need for organizations to support cloud workloads. IBM Cloud is the leading platform for data-driven cloud and analytics that enables organizations to open the doors to more responsive and innovative ways of doing business,” said Nevil Knupp, vice president of cloud at IBM Canada, in a statement. “IBM Cloud supports Bell’s new client offerings to help companies gain more control of their data, improve application performance and efficiencies with enhanced collaboration, centralize IT management, reduce costs and achieve greater efficiencies.”