The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has always been a forward-thinking agency when it comes to cloud computing and BYOD efforts. The NNSA is recently rolled out its own cloud computing environment to manage data more securely, efficiently and effectively, called YOURcloud.
Following is an exclusive Q&A with Anil Karmel, Deputy CTO of the NNSA, who discusses YOURcloud and other next-generation government IT platforms that the agency is embracing.
Karmel: I’m the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Deputy Chief Technology Officer. Within the NNSA, I serve as the RightPath Chief Architect and management and operations implementation lead for a range of enterprise information technology (IT) solutions, including cloud computing, enterprise mobility, unified communications and enterprise wireless.
NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) responsible for maintaining and enhancing the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing. NNSA works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction, provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion, and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Federal Technology Insider: Why is cloud computing so important for government agencies these days?
Karmel: In an era of declining budgets, cloud computing can offer greater security at a lower cost, if approached correctly. The first step in this journey is to understand what the cloud is and what it means to your organization. By quantifying existing investments and applying security controls around the information you are entrusted to protect, an agency can make a risk-graded decision around where to store their data. When you think about cloud, think about it through the lens of who the user is; what data you are trying to access; where is that data stored; and how management, security and transparency controls are applied to your efforts.
Federal Technology Insider: Please provide us with some insights with your efforts around cloud computing and BYOD (enterprise mobility).
Karmel: Our journey to the cloud began seven years ago when we implemented on-premise server virtualization – achieving ROI within nine months of project inception. We evolved that investment into a secure, private cloud launched three years ago and powered by a secure cloud broker, Infrastructure on Demand, born out of an innovative partnership between industry and government. We re-platformed that broker to form the underpinnings of YOURcloud – the federal government’s first secure, hybrid community cloud, brokering on premise and commercial cloud service providers via a unified control plane. YOURcloud brokers any organization through any device, respectful of site autonomy, through the innovative work done at DOE/NNSA laboratories.
Federal Technology Insider: Tell us more about the YOURcloud effort that you are spearheading. What best practices have come of this?
Karmel: YOURcloud employs a cloud service broker, Infrastructure on Demand, giving users the power to deploy cloud resources into secure enterprise enclaves certified to house the information they are entrusted to protect. This gives users the autonomy they desire, and allows IT to act as a trusted partner and strategic advisor to constituents, providing options to consumers via a self-service capability. As we strive to do more with less, we need to consider new approaches to old problems – moving from a compliance-based approach with data center controls to a risk-graded approach with data-centric controls. This drives agility with higher security at a lower cost through the cloud.
Federal Technology Insider: Tell us about the RightPath effort.
Karmel: RightPath is a lean and agile methodology employed through a partnership between the DOE Office of the Chief Information Officer and NNSA, delivering IT transformation to DOE by focusing on the key areas of people, process and technology.