DISA OTA for cloud-based internet isolation a sign of more to come
The Defense Information Systems Agency’s first-ever use of an other transaction agreement (OTA) for production work came at an opportune time. Just as the pandemic was creating massive strains on DoD networks, the OTA gave DISA a brand new way to move huge amounts of traffic off of them.
In August, the agency awarded By Light Professional IT Services a nearly $200 million agreement to start deploying a technique called cloud-based internet isolation (CBII). As the name implies, the program moves Defense users’ web browsing off of their actual desktops and laptops; indeed, off of Defense networks entirely. The actual browsing activity happens in a commercial cloud environment.
The move was originally intended mainly as a security measure. After all, if the browser is in the cloud, any malware users happen to run across stays there too. But since the program keeps both good and bad traffic in the cloud, it also has the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of traffic that has to traverse through DoD internet access points.
Christopher Barnhurst, DISA’s executive deputy director, said CBII let DISA avoid an estimated $300 million in expenditures it would otherwise have had to make to expand the capacity of the interconnections between DoD’s own networks and the public internet.
“We have a constantly increasing demand for bandwidth capacity, and at the same time, we have sensor capacity