May 29 2019

DISA Gives DOD Components New Cloud Storage Option

Defense Department users now have access to a Dropbox-like file storage service for unclassified data.

As the Defense Department continues to chug toward awarding its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure commercial cloud contract, it is rolling out other in-house cloud services. 

Since early March, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Pentagon’s IT services and support arm, has been offering DOD components a cloud-based file storage service akin to Dropbox, called milDrive. 

The service is designed to be secure, flexible and reliable, and allows users to store unclassified files in the cloud, giving users access to them from laptops and mobile devices. As ZDNet notes, “the service was built on top of milCloud, another DISA DOD project, an in-house built cloud hosting service that is made available to combat forces, federal civilians, and contractors.”

According to a DISA press release, milDrive is compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices, and users can access files via a web browser, mobile device or desktop app. Licensed users with Common Access Cards or Personal Identity Verification credentials can access files on the Non-Classified Internet Protocol Router Network and share access-controlled, unclassified information files and documents from any device.

The service offers two levels of storage: 20 gigabytes for individual users or 1 terabyte for a group.

“It really ensures warfighters have continuous, reliable access to files without regard to device or location,” Carissa Landymore, DISA’s cloud storage program manager, said in a statement

MORE FROM FEDTECH: Learn how embracing a cloud computing architecture can benefit your federal agency. 

DISA Focuses on Cloud Security, Reliability

DISA is focused on data security and reliability with milDrive, and stores user data in two of its secure data center facilities, according to the agency. Additionally, DISA replicates the data between the two sites, ensuring it remains available to users. MilDrive also lets users access and manipulate files and folders offline.

Once a user gets back online, milDrive automatically synchronizes the user’s data. Further, milDrive’s lets users send files to, and authorize access for, other authenticated users — even if they do not have a milDrive user license. 

“They won’t be able to manipulate the data because they aren’t a licensed user, but they will be able to access it via a shared URL,” Landymore said. 

Since the service was designed, engineered and deployed in DOD-owned and managed facilities, it “removes the costly overhead for customers and mission partners to host and accredit local solutions,” DISA Applications Division Chief Greg Cranmer said in a statement. 

“DISA is continuing to keep pace with industry as far as enabling users to maintain, utilize, and access data through a cloud environment,” Landymore said. “We’re making the end user more productive by giving them more ways to access their files.”

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