cloud computing (ranjith ravindran/

Standardizing and securing Navy systems in the cloud

One of the biggest challenges in upgrading IT infrastructure is breaking down the technology turf wars within an organization. When each unit has its own tools and processes, effecting change is hard and guarding against cyberthreats is even harder.

In the Navy, Commander, Navy Installations Command CIO Bruce Hidaka-Gordon sought to remedy that situation by hosting all CNIC N9’s unclassified data — including websites, content management systems, mobile apps, and training systems and materials for people in the field — in one place on Amazon Web Services’ GovCloud infrastructure.

Rather than simply migrating data and architecture from an old system to a cloud environment, Fleet and Family Readiness (N9) program chose to completely redesign.

“Typically, companies do a lift and shift, taking their existing infrastructure and moving it into a cloud environment,” said Raven Solutions CEO Ryan Pratt, who led the transition to the cloud. “At that point, the cloud just becomes another hosting facility. And while that’s effective and a good initial foray into the cloud, it doesn’t derive the real benefit of it.”

The fact that Navy service members are constantly moving from base to base made it difficult to implement a standardized process, said Julia Callaway, the Navy’s point person for the CNIC N9 effort. But since shifting to a cloud environment, CNIC’s web-based programs that support Navy service members and their families with a wide range of issues — including child care, food, shelter and entertainment — have been more popular and responsive to their needs.

“It started out as a way to standardize and modernize all of our marketing departments for our operations,” which included 107 websites and more than 90 mobile applications, Callaway added. But now “it’s the heartbeat of our work here.”

The Fleet and Family Readiness website now boasts 2.5 million monthly page views.

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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