The Defense Innovation Unit will soon pick a contractor to provide secure cloud access platforms to facilitate collaboration between the Department of Defense and industry, C4ISRNET reported Monday.
Since 2020, DIU has been working with Zscaler, Google and McAfee on the secure cloud access management prototyping project. Although one vendor will be selected by the unit as its provider, the other two companies could still offer their platforms to other DOD agencies if they secure a success memo.
Rick Simon, DIU’s program manager for the prototype project, said DOD’s cloud access architecture requires the “use of a cloud access point gateway to secure and control communication between endpoints and cloud service providers,” making it difficult for the Pentagon to collaborate with entities outside the government.
The department’s information network also makes it challenging to facilitate cloud-based collaboration because it is not cloud-ready.
“The DoD-Information Network … was not built with cloud in mind,” said Drew Schnabel, vice president of federal at Zscaler.
Schnabel said the company’s cloud technology is like a device in vehicles that allows people to avoid tollbooth lines, enabling users to securely connect to applications while avoiding user traffic bottlenecks.
In June 2020, DIU selected Zscaler to develop a prototype zero trust framework that will allow DOD users to access software-as-a-service applications in the cloud while they are operating off-network.
Independent assessors kicked off prototype reviews in February and Simon said evaluation reports on companies’ real-time and security performance are expected in May.