While the IC’s research organization looks into adding security to cloud environments, in the here and now, intelligence agencies are sharing more data.
The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing designs the physical object used most by Americans: paper money. But the agency itself is moving beyond the physical world and virtualizing its operations by moving applications to the cloud.
BEP put its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in the cloud back in 2011 and has since decided to move agency-specific apps there as well. Migrating to the cloud has given the agency greater flexibility and security.
Harry Singh, BEP’s deputy associate director and deputy CIO told Federal News Radio that said his office recently deployed a human resources app on a cloud platform hosted by Salesforce.
“Internally, we have our telework program and time-to-hire initiative in HR,” covering internal communication, collaboration and workflow approvals, he said. “Salesforce does workflow and the visual dashboard capabilities very well. We made a decision to pursue those in the initial go-round with four or five apps and then assess user acceptance on the Software as a Service platform.”
In the past, BEP kept those types of data on-premises in its data center, Singh said, but added that the cloud helps the agency meet its mission, deliver services better and achieve stronger cybersecurity.
Singh told Federal News Radio that BEP ran into some challenges, as sometimes happens when moving to a new platform or technology, and users were not used to it.
“We have been working closely with the users to transition them to Salesforce,” he said. “This is the reason we focused on applications that had a limited set of users, and we were able to deploy it successfully. There were some issues that we encountered as part of the deployment, but overall it was a very successful implementation, and now we take a step forward in that direction.”
BEP will use the cloud to share data with external manufacturing partners as well as to support a secure email and collaboration platform.
BEP uses Microsoft’s SharePoint to give external vendors secure access to the agency’s data and documents, but it has also run into issues with those vendors’ security policies, Singh said. As a result, BEP is exploring whether there is a cloud service that uses a subscription-based model and has been approved by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, so that it can share data and collaborate better.
“We looked into a secure virtual private network with our SharePoint platform, but as we looked into the FedRAMP service, cyber is very important, as are some things that came from the Cyber Sprint, like multifactor authentication,” Singh told Federal News Radio. “Cyber will be the critical piece as we share data and deliver the service.”
BEP is still evaluating how it will acquire the cloud-based data sharing service. Singh said the agency hopes to deploy it in 2017.