information sharing environment (sdecoret/Shutterstock.com)

Cloud-based AKO will enhance user access, boost security

Moving the Army's official knowledge management tool, Army Knowledge Online, to the cloud is a key element of the service's data center consolidation and cloud migration efforts, service officials said.  

The service’s Enterprise Content Collaboration and Messaging (EC2M) is currently in the process of giving AKO a new look and feel as well as an upgraded platform,  said Sergio Alvarez, product lead for enterprise content, Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems.  The Army plans to complete a migration to AKO 2.0 by 2018.

Among other things, AKO provides pertinent training, human resources and personnel information across the service. Once it's on a central cloud server, a user will be able to access saved files, regardless of physical location.

“AKO has been targeted to transition to an Army approved data center – a series of data centers within the Army that have been involved. This includes being able to move to commercial cloud providers,” Alvarez added.

Data consolidation, Alvarez further explained, not only brings economic efficiencies but provides a substantial increase in data security.

In particular, consolidation enables more extensive use of a buffer network or intermediate access layer to a central server called Content Delivery Network service, or CDN. CDN, which operates using a cache environment, increases security by limited possibilities for access.

“If there were some kind of penetration, the level of penetration is only going to get to the CDN. Also, if someone is trying to penetrate, the system has protocols in place that will detect attacks and shut down transfer services,” Alvarez said.

CDN is configured, through IP protocol, to engineer a web-access firewall to enable secure user activity.

“If you are trying to penetrate, it has protocols in place that will detect attacks and say ‘shut this down and transfer services to a different user,’” he explained. “The attacker never gets below the CDN network.”

Alvarez said this technology can stop denial of service attacks - where an attacker tries to overwhelm and shut down a central server thousands of requests to try to knock it out.

About the Author

Kris Osborn is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. He can be reached at kosborn@1105media.com.

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