NSA uses cloud to modernize agency

Lonny Anderson, the National Security Agency’s chief information officer, says finding efficiencies in IT is one of his biggest priorities. And, he says, his agency is using the cloud to help with that.

“I don’t want to say we’re the leader in cloud use across the IC [Intelligence Community] but if we’re not, we’re reliant on it. We’re right up there.”

Anderson tells Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller, NSA currently uses three clouds – a utility cloud for virtualization, a storage-as-a-service cloud, and a data cloud. All three of these clouds are private but have some open-source components.

When asked whether an agency like NSA would ever consider using a public cloud, Anderson says, “For unclassified networks, the public cloud would be fine. The challenge for us is, of course, that we do a lot of things in the classified world.”

But, he says, the agency is looking outside its own walls for ideas. “One of the areas we’re going to look at in the future is how to take advantage of all of those developers that are out there, not in government, but across industry and in universities. To the extent we can, we’ll try to open source and ask for help.”

Anderson also updated Federal News Radio on the agency’s data center consolidation efforts. NSA’s new data center in Utah will be used by the Intelligence Community to support the National Cybersecurity Initiative. He says the new data center will help NSA fight cybersecurity threats and provide technical assistance to the Department of Homeland Security.

“That data center will give us, the IC, the ability to take advantage of new technologies as they come on board and design a data center in accordance with our future needs.”

Listen to the full interview.

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