US Navy CIO: Use the cloud, but be careful

US Navy CIO: Use the cloud, but be careful

Says public cloud should not be used for classified or mission critical data or applications, only those already approved for public release.

The U.S. Navy's CIO has directed that Naval information systems be migrated to commercial cloud service providers, but only for information that has already been approved for public release.

The public cloud should not be used for classified or mission-critical information or applications, he says.

The announcement marks a clear endorsement of cloud computing resources by a senior government IT official, but emphasizes the limited use cases with which IT professionals are willing to use cloud-based services.

[RELATED: Report: Amazon is building $600M cloud for the CIA]

According to a memo from Terry Halvorsen, CIO of the Department of Navy, all information systems within the organization should investigate the use of cloud service providers to host information systems. Halvorsen says using cloud-based services can increase efficiency while not sacrificing effectiveness, if done properly. He urges members of his IT staff to "expand analyses" of commercial cloud service providers to host naval information systems to determine if public cloud resources can provide better capabilities at lower costs compared to the status quo. He notes that the Marine Corps Intranet is already hosted in commercial service provider facilities.

The first step, he says, is moving "low-impact" information systems and mission functions to commercial cloud service providers. Priority should be given to systems and applications which have information that if leaked or compromised would have limited adverse effect on Naval operations. Systems that contain information that's already been publicly released, for example, are prime candidates to move to public clouds, he says.

As government entities ease to the idea of moving resources to public cloud computing platforms, service providers seem to be priming their offerings to host such data. Providers like Amazon Web Services, though its AWS GovCloud, and Terremark have cloud options geared specifically at government clients, for example.

Rumours have been circulating that some government entities may be using the cloud for their own internal, behind-the-firewall private clouds too. Amazon Web Services is reportedly working with the CIA to build a cloud for that spy agency, while others have recently reported that officials from the NationalSecurity Administration are set to discuss their use of OpenStack cloud platform technology at the project's summit next week in Portland, Oregon. Follow CIO on

Twitter @cio_nz



Download CIO for your tablet here.

Click here to subscribe to CIO.

Sign up to receive free CIO newsletters.

Send news tips to

Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

Join the CIO New Zealand newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments