IBM wins Air Force contract in major test of cloud security

The momeuntum coming out of the U.S. government for cloud projects continues to build. IBM announced it won a contract from the U.S. Air Force for a the design and demonstration of a secure cloud computing infrastructure capable of supporting defense and intelligence networks.

One of the challenges — and opportunities — for IBM is the security framework. It must meet the Information Assurance standards that were established by NSA. It has ten months to do it. Once IBM has built an architecture that meets this security challenge, it will help establish a benchmark for secure cloud environments.

The cloud could has the potential to cover the entire Air Force network which manages operations at nine major commands, nearly 100 bases, and 700,000 active military personnel around the world. But the design must prove itself first.

“Our goal is to demonstrate how cloud computing can be a tool to enable our Air Force to manage, monitor and secure the information flowing through our network,” said Lieutenant General William Lord, Chief Information Officer and Chief, Warfighting Integration, for the U.S. Air Force.

IBM said advanced “stream computing” analytics will be central to the design. By polling sensors, monitors and other detection devices, the stream will continuously analyze massive amounts of data flowing through its network, providing actionable alerts about possible threats while preventing downtime.

Another design requirement is to allow for a self-turning infrastructure, capable of configuration changes on the fly to stay at optimal performance levels.

In December, the U.S. Navy said it was testing a cloud design for military exercises using Amazon’s EC2.

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