DISA releases cloud security requirements guide

The Defense Information Systems Agency has laid out the criteria for commercial and non-Pentagon cloud providers to operate within DOD.

Shutterstock image: cloud hands.

The Defense Information Systems Agency released a security requirements guide laying out the criteria for commercial and non-Defense Department cloud providers to operate within DOD.

The SRG, a draft of which was released last month, stipulates the policies, requirements, and architectures for DOD mission owners’ use of commercial cloud. In an interconnected commercial world in which more than one party might be involved in a cloud offering, the SRG makes clear that the security responsibility ultimate lies with the primary cloud provider.

The guidance follows acting DOD CIO Terry Halvorsen’s move to allow the military services and other DOD agencies to procure commercial cloud services rather than leaving that authority to DISA. The overarching goal of these measures is to hasten DOD’s move to the commercial cloud while retaining control of important security requirements for sensitive information.

“The SRG is designed to ensure that DOD can attain the full economic and technical advantages of using the commercial cloud without putting the departments data and missions at risk,” Mark Orndorff, DISA’s risk management executive, said in a statement.

The guide covers missions classified as “secret” or below. It supersedes and rescinds previous guidance under the Cloud Security Model. Whereas the CSM identified six “impact levels” for sensitive information handled in the cloud, the new SRG reduces this to four levels “in order to simplify the selection process,” the guide states.

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