Following is a special guest post from Former Lieutenant General John Fairfield of the U.S. Air Force:
With IT spending reaching nearly $80 billion in the new fiscal budget for 2011, agencies throughout the U.S. federal government are looking at ways to tighten their belts and increase efficiency. One emerging technology that holds great promise is cloud computing. In a cloud environment, IT resources such as applications, storage devices and servers are shared and delivered as services over the Internet.
But the big stumbling block to widespread adoption in federal agencies is the issue of security. How do you protect sensitive, classified data from the ever-growing threat of cyber attacks if the data is sitting in a public or private cloud somewhere?
The U.S. Air Force has decided to tackle this issue head-on and they’ve asked for IBM’s help. During the next 10 months, IBM researchers, software architects, cyber security experts and analytics specialists will work alongside military personnel and representatives from other federal agencies to hopefully overcome the hurdle.
Cyber security is a global issue, so the potential benefits of this project extend far beyond U.S. military services. The U.S. Air Force recognizes that new thinking, new technologies, and new levels of collaboration between government and industry will be required to find viable solutions. As a retired Air Force lieutenant general, I’m extremely proud that my service branch is taking the initiative to get ahead of one of the world’s greatest security challenges.
John S. Fairfield, a former Lieutenant General in the U.S. Air Force, is the director of strategic sales for IBM’s U.S. Federal Business.
[Editor's note: a press release with more details about this announcement can be found here at ibm.com.]