DoD IT: The Importance of Cloud Computing and the DoD Approved Software List for DoD Systems

The United States has the most powerful military in the world. Even despite recent cuts to the defense budget, the US still accounts for nearly $600 billion annually spent on military — over three times the amount spent by the Chinese, the second biggest spender. The USAF is also far and away the largest and best equipped air force on the planet, with approximately 5,600 aircraft currently in service. The US Navy actually fields the second-largest air force in the world with approximately 3,700 aircraft, in addition to the 19 aircraft carriers, 75 submarines, and countless other combat and support craft.

While the US military may be the most visible element of the United States Defense Department (DoD), it is by no means the only one. The DoD maintains several hundred thousand buildings, at more than 5,000 different locations, and accounting for more than 30 million acres of land. In fact, the Department employes more than three million workers and service personnel, with approximately 450,000 serving overseas at any given time, making it the largest employer in the US.

All of this comes together to support a single goal: ensuring the security of the United States and its interests. With so much at stake, one might assume that the DoD’s digital infrastructure would be likewise powerful and cutting-edge. Sadly, this often isn’t the case.

DOD Faces Obstacles to Modernization

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), US government departments spend approximately $60 billion annually on operating and maintaining out-of-date technologies. The DoD’s dependence on aging legacy systems represent more than just a drain on federal budgets; they may also represent significant security risks. For example, the systems that control the country’s nuclear ICBM arsenal operate on 1970s-era computers and eight-inch floppy disks — out-of-date by any standards, and certainly not what one would expect overseeing the most powerful weapons in the world.

Unfortunately, while essentially everyone involved agrees that DoD software systems are in need of wide-spread renovation, bringing these different agencies into the new millennium is proving difficult.

For one thing, as budget cuts continue, departments are finding themselves having to identify exactly which systems are in most need of updating. This is doubly problematic, as so many of these systems need to be able to communicate with one another, something that may not be possible when only a fraction of the systems receives updates.

Additionally, the processes in place for updating systems suffer from long procurement times for even minor tech projects. Slow approval speeds, when coupled with the ever-increasing rates at which new technological innovations are being introduced, leave DoD agencies playing ‘catch-up’ when it comes to updating its computer systems.

Finally, considering the unfathomably vast base of government systems encompassed by the DoD, and the fact that top agency decision makers are routinely replaced as new officials are elected or appointed means that the task of system renovation is not only prohibitively large, but is also likely to experience regular setbacks with each new changing of the guard.

How then should the DoD go about updating its systems? Beyond dumping exorbitant amounts of money into a complete overhaul, there are a few other options worth considering.

New Options Help Close the Gap

Traditionally, DoD computer systems have been extremely hardware focused. Bulky, expensive equipment, maintained on site, and requiring extensive IT training to operate made up the majority of DoD systems. All information was stored locally, and any and all hardware or software issues were the responsibility of over-burdened in-house IT departments. New advances have made this strategy completely obsolete.

With the advent of reliable cloud technology, on-premise solutions are becoming as outdated as eighty-inch floppy disks. Cloud-based systems operate entirely remotely, meaning that expensive, cumbersome hardware becomes a non issue. As long as authorized users have access to any standard web-browser, they’ll have all the ‘hardware’ they need to operate in the cloud.

Eliminating the hardware aspect of DoD computer systems has a resonant effect in terms of budgets. Not only does it obviate the need for hardware installation costs, but given that cloud solutions are generally provided and maintained by third parties, it also significantly reduces upkeep and other IT costs. Training is likewise generally handled through built-in tutorials, so that every user can get certified on each new system quickly, and updates are regularly provided.

Of course, handling sensitive DoD data through a third party carries with it it’s own complications, which is why the Department has created the DoD approved software list.

Compliance is Vitally Important

Whether it is in regard to cloud-based technology, or any other software option, before the DoD can integrate any third-party software, it needs to be vetted and added to the DoD approved software list. This helps to ensure that every software used by the Department is reliable and secure. After all, when the nation’s security is at stake, one can never be too careful.

With this in mind, finding the right cloud solution for the DoD (or any other government departments, agencies, or organizations) means locating something that is not only fully capable of handling massive amounts of sensitive data, but that has also been approved for government use.

One such software solution fits this description: Salesforce Government Cloud.

Government Cloud Brings DoD Systems in the 21st Century

Salesforce Government Cloud takes advantage of the same cloud-based CRM technology that has made Salesforce a household name among businesses large and small.

The world’s number-one enterprise cloud gives the DoD the power to capture, analyze, and retrieve important information quickly and easily, and to share data in real time across every department, systems, and authorized user, for unparalleled accuracy and coordination. Additionally, advanced automation options free up users from time-consuming, monotonous tasks, so that they can focus on other important responsibilities. Add to these features a cutting-edge AI which is capable of learning and improving as it goes, and the DoD has a cloud-based set of tools capable of revolutionizing its outdated digital infrastructure at minimal cost.

And, because even the most powerful tool needs to remain compliant with government software standards, the DoD approved software list now includes Salesforce Government Cloud. In fact, Government Cloud has been granted a Provisional Authorization for Impact Level 2 (IL2) from Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), as well as a Provisional Authorization for Impact Level 4 (IL4) from Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), in addition to several other certifications, including those from FedRAMP and NIST.

The Department of Defense is one of the most complex, important organizations in the world, with a scope that encompasses millions of employees, billions of dollars, and the safety of every American citizen. In order to facilitate its mission, it needs the world’s number-one CRM solution. Salesforce Government Cloud is the digital update the DoD needs, so that the department can stop worrying about IT issues, and better focus on ensuring the security of the nation.

After all, even with all the tanks, jets, and aircraft carriers in the world, our nation’s defences are only as effective as the software that guides them. Try Salesforce Government Cloud today, and help the DoD finally do away with the excel spreadsheets.

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