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Intel Agencies Look to Keep Secrets in the Ether

• Lena Groeger via

Dropbox for files, Google for mail, iCloud for well, everything. Average citizens have all kinds of options for storing their information in the cloud. Now, spies want in. Soon, our nation’s secrets may take on a slightly more nebulous form.

In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA and U.S. intelligence community, recently sunk money into a cloud-based storage company called Cleversafe. It says the platform is “ideal for storing mission critical data by addressing the core principles of data confidentiality, integrity and availability.” (Incidentally, those principles also spell out CIA).

This is only one of a series of new government initiatives to move into the cloud. Since last year, the administration has embraced a “cloud first” policy, which encourages cloud-based solutions “whenever a secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud option exists.” The Pentagon is already planning its migration, and the 2011 Cloud Computing Act, expected out in a few weeks, may put in place even more incentives for investing in cloud computing options.

But the move upwards brings all sorts of security concerns, particularly for the CIA — which is still smarting from the recent hack of its public website. While there has been much debate over the safety of the cloud versus more traditional forms of storage, Cleversafe is confident that data will be secure with them. Which is good, because the government would love to prevent another Bradley Manning from spouting off all their secrets to WikiLeaks.


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