DISA launches chat, web conferencing service

DISA launches chat, web conferencing service

The Defense Information Systems Agency has released a web-based collaboration tool that gives Defense Department employees anywhere in the world secure web conferencing and instant messaging services on both the Sensitive but Unclassified Internet Protocol Network (NIPRNet) and the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet).

The new open-source capability, called Defense Collaboration Services, or DCS, is available to anyone with a common access card, or CAC, on the unclassified NIPRNet, or to anyone with a SIPRnet token on the classified network, Karl Kurz, DISA program manager for DCS, told DOD News during a recent interview. It replaces the Defense Connect Online service.

DISA was spending about $40 million a year for DCO, Kurz told Signal Magazine. “That was expected to escalate as usage continued to increase. We expect that by migrating over to DCS that we will be saving on the order of $12 million or more per year.”

DCS offers employees an easy and secure way to exchange information with co-workers through secure web conferencing and secure instant messaging and chat, Kurz said.

Through DCS web conferencing, users can communicate securely using voice and video and have the ability to share documents, PowerPoint slides, photographs and spreadsheets in different formats.  They can also record and playback sessions, perform desktop sharing, white boarding, text chat and polling/voting. All recordings will be retained for 180 days.

Instant messaging capabilities include persistent chat rooms, one-to-one chat and presence information.

“It’s very secure, using the latest industry standards and hosted within secure DISA data centers,” Kurz said. “We actually reside on milCloud, the DOD hosting environment that is secure and very flexible.”

DCS is integrated with other DOD enterprise services, which deliver efficiencies and cost savings along with secure communication services across the department, Kurz said.

For example, DCS integrates with DOD’s public key infrastructure, the framework that links digital certificates, public-key cryptography and certification authorities into a DOD-wide CAC-based network security architecture.

By leveraging the DOD Application Services Directory, DCS also eliminates the need for users to manage another account. Within hours of receiving a CAC, users are able to start collaborating via DCS.

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