Defence reveals plans for secret cloud environment

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Defence reveals plans for secret cloud environment

Wants to "rapidly" establish IaaS foundation.

The Department of Defence is set to establish a “diversified suite of secret cloud services” to transform its IT environment and improve information sharing with other agencies.

The department revealed plans for multi-vendor IaaS, PaaS and SaaS cloud services at the secret level this week, amid escalating national security risks.

It is expected to approach the market in June to identify potential industry partners to provide secret level cloud services, according to a notice to industry.

The Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have already shown interest in using the environment in the future.

Documents show a need for security, policy and intelligence agencies to “collaborate effectively and efficiently at the secret security classification”.

While agencies currently collaborate at the secret level, Defence said this is “hampered by siloed information systems and the use of disparate networks”.

Defence also intends to use the cloud services to “rapidly adopt modern technology suites, deploy new capabilities... faster and leverage the scale and pace of change available”.

“The availability of public cloud services at official and protected security classifications have enabled capabilities that go part way to addressing these needs,” it said.

“However, full realisation will only occur with cloud services being realised at higher security classifications.”

Three tranches

Documents show a “number of distinct tranches” will be used to progressively establish “diverse multi-vendor secret cloud capabilities that are hosted in Australia”.

“Each Tranche of the Program will be aimed at procuring specific cloud services aligned to business or capability priorities,” the notice states.

Defence said the initial request for expression of interest in June will be used to “rapidly establish a foundational secret IaaS cloud service”, with two future tranches to follow in 2023.

“For the first tranche, Defence intends to seek to partner with one or more cloud service providers to rapidly provide secure and highly scalable cloud service for use by Defence customers,” it said.

The infrastructure would need to be “ready for accreditation at the secret level for the Defence environment within six months of contract signing”.

It would also be expected to “provide a minimum viable capability to support workloads and storage for Defence imagery application and associated mission analytics system”.

Tranche two will expand the IaaS platform established under tranche one, including additional secret level cloud services from different cloud providers, and additional IaaS and PaaS services.

Use cases include “secure information sharing” and edge computing, along with “rapid prototyping and development”, which will allow Defence to introduce new applications and services faster. 

Tranche three, which is still to be defined by Defence, is expected to “continue to build on the secret cloud services established under tranches one and two”, including IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services.

Use cases at tranche three will address secret level productivity and collaboration, unified communications, and other “value add” enterprise and business specific capabilities.

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