The Drug Enforcement Administration has announced that it will begin looking for help in transferring some of its sensitive data, mainly that which is geographic in nature, to the cloud. The contract plan drafted by the agency is intended to save money and will allow agents more efficient access to sensitive mapping data.
The new “government community cloud” is a proposed internet-based certification program that all federal cloud products would be required to pass in order to be used by federal agents. The program has been initiated by the DEA but is intended to be used by several government agencies. The nature of a community cloud is essentially to exist as an IT forum that would be accessible to government agencies for sharing and disseminating information and resources.
Much of the data would be geographical as the DEA uses a significant amount of location data to determine high crime areas and to locate suspects.
According the DEA officials, the cloud infrastructure design would need to be able to be leveraged by all government agencies whether they are at the local, state, or federal level as well as be able to support the security requirements that are unique and specific to the caliber of data being stored in order to ensure protection of that data.
The benefits of cloud technology for data and information storage have been well documented over the past several years and include improved on-demand capability and scalability, the provision of disaster recovery options, and overall improved efficiency of data storage, retrieval, and sharing.
As advanced as the DEA has become as a federal law enforcement agency in recent years, some are surprised that it is just now turning to cloud-based technology. It is looking for help in further determining its needs from service providers in order to establish processes for contracting tasks specific to this cloud initiative.