Does the FBI need cloud?
Cloud has become a ubiquitous term today, and it’s not just restricted to the economic side of our lives. Rather, it encompasses all areas of our society, including policing and vigilance. After all, organizations in charge of security can also leverage the power of cloud to protect their own digital assets, and monitor other critical aspects of national security. This is why, it’s no surprise that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), uses cloud extensively for its operations.
At the 2016 Structure Conference, the FBI explained how it uses cloud to manage security. One of the main challenges that the FBI faces now is information leaks. Post-Snowden era and the prevalence of sites like WikiLeaks have made it that much more difficult for the organization to manage its security. It has to lockdown confidential information, and at the same time, should make some information available to other law enforcement agencies to help prevent terrorist attacks.
In addition, the FBI should also protect itself from insider attacks. Like any other business, this security organization should also protect its data, intellectual property, and other assets from being stolen by its own employees. There are many cases of spying and espionage that have proved to be costly for the FBI. To prevent these insider attacks, the FBI should always stay on top of its data, along with an understanding of the possible ways by which it can be compromised.
Protecting itself from both internal and external threats is quite a challenge for the FBI. This is why it should choose tools that will address both sides of the coin. In this sense, the FBI has the same requirements as that of the private sector, but at a different level. There are other unique aspects too, when it comes to FBI’s security.
Firstly, it doesn’t allow its employees to bring their own device as it can be too much to monitor. With no BYOD, it’s one task less for the IT team. Secondly, the FBI’s website is not a mission critical asset, unlike that of private companies, because its website just provides information to everyone. Hence, the FBI’s website does not need the highest level of protection. Thirdly, availability is a top priority for the organization, as it has to be available for local and national law enforcement 24/7. Fourthly, risk and loss is not monetized. Rather, it can affect the national security or can lead to catastrophic events like the 9/11 attack. In this sense, data breaches can be extremely costly for the country as a whole.
With such unique considerations, it’s no doubt that it needs a customized cloud application. It turned to the market leader, Amazon, and this has resulted in the creation of Amazon GovCloud. Many of the FBI’s security concerns and requirements are being addressed by GovCloud, and the organization plans to move its legacy systems to the cloud too.
Once again, GovCloud reflects the fact that cloud is a central part of our lives, regardless of the sector or organization in which it is used.