Cloud Computing Helps Secure American Nuclear Weapons

May 10, 2013

Cloud computing services have a place in practically every public and private American enterprise, as cloud-based ERP business solutions have gained traction as a way to organize daily operations in a shareable, streamlined format. Perhaps nowhere is the cloud more needed than in the Department of Energy (DoE), a government branch that has long been clamoring for a better way to safeguard the nation's supply of nuclear weapons.

Luckily, a cloud solution is on the way that should organize and secure America's nukes. According to the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), the DoE is working to create a cloud computing solution for unclassified data this year. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), an agency within the department, is working on the solution, which will be known as "Yourcloud."

AFCEA revealed that the previous infrastructure for organizing America's nuclear arsenal was scattered across too many data centers, leaving officials unable to refresh equipment as often as necessary. The new cloud system is expected to offer lower costs, more mobility and better cyber-security for important government data.

Travis Howerton, chief technology officer at the NNSA, says that the administration is tailoring a custom cloud solution that will meet the government's specific needs.

"The reason we're doing a custom build is that we could not find anything in the commercial marketplace that could meet our security standards, being that we're the nuclear weapons wing of the federal government," Howerton told the news source. "We think we've pushed the boundaries of what's possible in cloud security, combining that with network security and storage security in an innovative way. We've solved some foundational problems around federated identity management."

Positive effects of cloud implementation
According to the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative (FCCI), implementing cloud computing in the federal government is important because it represents an opportunity to close the performance gap between the public and private sectors. The FCCI advocates government solutions that favor better efficiency and lower costs, and there's a demand for ERP and other cloud-based initiatives because they improve computing power for public organizations as well as private ones.

For the most part, large corporations have been the leaders of the cloud computing movement, using the technology to streamline their operations and increase profits. But the cloud can help the federal government as well, and the protection of our nuclear weapons might be its greatest contribution yet.