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DIU OKs 3 secure cloud solutions

The Defense Innovation Unit has selected three Secure Cloud Management (SCM) prototypes that will help DIU give users fast, secure and controlled access to software-as-a-service apps directly over the internet.

The three solutions – from Google Cloud with partner Palo Alto Networks, Zscaler and McAfee Public Sector -- received success memos that will allow Defense Department organizations to contract with them for these SCM solutions without needing to recompete.

The prototype solutions were installed at DIU in May 2020 and then assessed by third-party organizations based on criteria developed by DIU, according to a June 1 press release.

The selected solutions leverage zero-trust principles, which will help other DOD units with their own zero-trust plans, DIU officials said. The solutions all include Secure Access Service Edge services, which are a convergence of several related network security functions with wide-area network capabilities. Zero trust principles are core to the SASE security framework.

“The solutions provide equivalent security and control to the DoD’s Cloud Access Point (CAP) while delivering real-time performance, which is critical for such things as videoconferencing and file sharing,” said John Chen, interim CIO for DIU. 

Google’s multi-cloud solution features the company’s Anthos managed application platform, Istio’s service mesh for secure service communication and Netskope for cloud security. It will allow DIU to run web services and applications across Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure while being centrally managed from the Google Cloud Console, the company said last May when it had been selected to build a prototype.

The Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange platform includes Zscaler Private Access, a network access service that connects trusted users directly to trusted cloud applications, and Zscaler Internet Access, a secure internet gateway solution.

McAfee’s prototype features its MVISION Unified Cloud Edge solution, which integrates its next-generation secure web gateway, cloud access security broker and data loss prevention capabilities into one cloud-native platform. 

“We have seen widespread interest in our SCM effort from Services and DoD agencies that are looking for solutions to similar challenges,” said Rick Simon, contractor and DIU project lead. “These successful prototypes will give Services and agencies several independently-assessed choices, especially as they implement zero trust architectures.”

DIU said it plans to select one provider for its unique needs and will procure a long-term SCM solution through a Production Other Transaction contract. 

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