cloud computing (ranjith ravindran/


Standardizing and securing Navy systems in the cloud

One of IT modernization’s biggest challenges is breaking down the many technology fiefdoms within an organization. When every group has its own way of doing something, effecting change is hard and guarding against cyberthreats is even harder.

Cloud/Infrastructure Finalists

CNIC N9 GovCloud
Fleet and Family Readiness Division, Navy

DOT Network Modernization
Department of Transportation

Hybrid Networks for Remote Offices
Department of the Interior
18F, General Services Administration

NASA Image and Video Library


Click here for the full list of 2017 Dig IT finalists for all categories. And please join us at the Oct. 19 Dig IT Awards gala.

“All our bases around the world…had their own websites,” said Raven Solutions CEO Ryan Pratt, who led the transition to the cloud for the Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Fleet and Family Readiness (N9) program. “People were getting hacked at the headquarters level.”

CNIC 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, CNIC N9 chose to completely redesign.

“Typically, companies do a lift and shift, taking their existing infrastructure and moving it into a cloud environment,” Pratt said. “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 senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, 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 [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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