From: Asia Pacific FutureGov

By Thanya Kunakornpaiboonsir

Participants from the Singapore public sector shared perspectives over cloud readiness and holistic approaches to evaluation and implementation at a workshop conducted by Lockheed Martin in conjunction with the FutureGov Forum Singapore 2013.

“We expect to learn more about the cloud — how it can be applied for use with highly sensitive data, and to help reduce costs,” a participant from Department of Statistics Singapore said. His concern was echoed by his peers from different agencies across the room.

One of the key challenges faced by the Singapore government over cloud migration is classification and prioritisation of data — especially understanding issues around sensitive data and how to evaluate them. Another concern is inadequate education about cloud providers and their capabilities to answer to the complex needs of each individual agency.

“Although the cloud is still maturing from the standpoint of implementation, there is a lot of interest in it,” said Mahesh Kalva, CTO, International & Tech Transition, Lockheed Martin. “Of the hundreds or thousands of vendors out there, each one has their own definition of the cloud. Fundamentally, people get confused and they are all worried about what exactly the cloud is.”

To simplify the public sector’s work and to enhance it with solutions the cloud community has to offer, Kalva introduced ‘Lockheed Martin SolaS Hybrid Cloud Solution’. SolaS, or Solution as a Service, represents a mission-focused approach to secure the cloud with the help of a ‘Cloud Command & Control Broker and Management System’.

This holistic approach allows users the flexibility to deploy a single storefront to leverage cloud services from the Lockheed Martin SolaS Private and Community clouds and partner with public cloud providers.

These capabilities are delivered by leveraging technologies from Lockheed Martin Cyber Security Alliance partners including CA, Cisco, Intel, McAfee, NetApp, Trustwave and VMware.

“The cloud changed the way we do business, as it provides a plug and play business model,” Kalva said, and added, “with the cloud becoming utility computing, you buy what you need.”

Examining the successful cloud migration of NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), participants learnt how a robust and secure IaaS capability had helped JPL’s scientific community using a dynamic shopping cart catalogue which incorporates business rules, pricing, and is integrated with a back-end workflow.

Troy Landry, Director of NexGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Centres, Australia from Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions, was centrally involved in JPL’s cloud assessment project. According to him, the benefit JPL received was the capability to scale infrastructure in minutes and to stay within budget.

The second case study discussed was the Environment Protection Agency in the US moving its email service to the cloud. It successfully migrated 22,000 users in record time to Microsoft Office 365 — a cloud-based system collaboration and communication service. The email service now costs the EPA US$8 per user.

“The implementation has improved employee access to communications and mobility tools. EPA personnel are more productive from any location while maintaining the highest levels of reliability, accessibility, and security,” Kalva said.

The participants were finally asked to help each other classify and prioritise data of a hospital, as part of initial steps towards choosing a suitable secure cloud solution for adoption.

Kalva asked for hospital data to be labelled according to sensitivity: ‘public data’, ‘less sensitive’, ‘moderately sensitive’, ‘sensitive’, ‘extremely sensitive’, or ‘classified’.

The discussion ended with participants agreeing that data classification is directly subject to government policy and the needs of a particular organisation, while simple data published over a public website can be classified depending upon situational evaluation.

Fruitful discussions among participants and Lockheed Martin during two and a half hour workshop provided clarity of the technology available in the market and helped sharpen cloud implementation consideration and decision-making.

For Hans Tench, Director of Information Systems and Global Solutions International Market Development, Lockheed Martin, the workshop provided good education on the local cloud scene: the priorities of the government and its readiness in and attitude towards cloud implementation.