Cloud Content Collaboration: The US Federal Government is Doing It — Should You?October 4, 2012 No Comments
By: Alastair Mitchell, Huddle
In late 1999, the media was abuzz about a newly formed, Central Intelligence Agency-funded not-for-profit venture capital firm designed to bridge the gap between the technology needs of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) and new advances in commercial technology. In-Q-Tel, as it was later renamed, invests in high-tech companies for the sole purpose of keeping the CIA, and other intelligence agencies, equipped with the latest in information technology in support of United States intelligence capability. Originally associated with the CIA Directorate of Science & Technology, In-Q-Tel now engages with entrepreneurs, growth companies, researchers, and venture capitalists to deliver technologies that provide superior capabilities for the CIA, DIA, NGA, and the larger Intelligence Community.
Fast forward a decade and a half and In-Q-Tel has reviewed thousands of business plans and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in more than 100 companies, delivering hundreds of technology solutions to the intelligence community. High on the list are unique ways to leverage the cloud to securely manage and interact with content.
As David Petraeus, Director of the CIA, said earlier this year, “Cloud computing provides important new capabilities for performing analysis across all data, allowing our analysts and decision makers to ask ad-hoc analytic questions of Big Data in a quick, precise fashion. New cloud computing technologies developed by In-Q-Tel partner companies are driving analytic transformation in the way organizations store, access, and process massive amounts of disparate data via massively parallel and distributed IT systems.”
In September, Huddle announced that it formed a strategic investment and development partnership with In-Q-Tel in order to develop a FISMA-certified version for use within federal government agencies—including the Department of Homeland Security and the National Geospacial-Intelligence Agency—enabling them securely share and collaborate on content in the cloud.
Over the last four years, Huddle has become the leader in ultra-secure cloud content collaboration, displacing legacy on-premise technologies like Microsoft SharePoint at thousands of organizations, from small- to medium-sized businesses to central governments. Today, Huddle is now being used by more than three quarters of UK government departments. Not limited to the UK, Huddle improves information management and collaboration in numerous European government organizations, including Belgium, Italy and Spain, numerous U.S. state governments and national organizations such as NASA. Indeed, more than 100,000 organizations worldwide trust Huddle with their data, including 80% of Fortune 500 organizations.
There are many reasons behind enterprise and government organizations’ shift from legacy on-premise technology to cloud tools and services like Huddle. Moving to the secure, mature cloud allows organizations to take advantage of cutting-edge innovation, improved flexibility and data uptime, more robust mobile working and easier, quicker deployments—all while cutting operational and capital costs across the board. Until recently, the major concern with cloud computing at scale has been related to security, permissions and governance of business data and in a post-WikiLeaks world, file security has never been more critical.
Enterprise- and government-class cloud security can be assured in several different ways to ensure that storing data in the cloud is safe and secure. Datacenters like Huddle’s are first secured physically with ISO 27001 accreditation and SSAE16/ISAE3402 certified, where serves are hosted in secure facilities with restricted access and 24/7 monitoring. Additionally, servers are hosted behind sophisticated firewalls with a protected perimeter, where third-party penetration testing ensures that hackers can’t access data. At the application level, data must be secured with restricted user access with full administrative control and encrypted at 256-bit SSL to and from the cloud as well as at rest locally. With highly scalable redundant online infrastructures and real-time replication, there’s no need to worry about losing data in the event of a disaster.
Huddle’s exponential adoption growth in security-sensitive enterprises and government agencies is a clear indication that the cloud—when used properly with accredited platforms and software—can meet or exceed the security concerns that governments and enterprises face. If Huddle meets the security and uptime requirements of central governments across the globe, isn’t it time for businesses to start looking at how they can also reap its advantages?
Alastair Mitchell co-founded Huddle, his third startup, in 2006 with co-founder Andy McLoughlin and has since grown the company to more than 100 people in London, San Francisco and New York, raised in excess of $40 million in funding and seen sales triple year on year. Alastair’s 11 year career has followed the trajectory of the internet. After his first startup, an online media business, Alastair moved into online exchanges and he built the first global soft commodities marketplace. When the business got bought-out by one of its investors, Alastair moved to Dunnhumby. Here he led its web-based marketing intelligence product from zero to $60 million sales within 4 years. He joined the board in 2005 to head up a 300 person global team, running their shopper loyalty practise. When Dunhumby was purchased by Tesco, Alastair started Huddle. Alastair graduated from Southampton University with an MEng in Naval Architecture. As a passionate supporter of other entrepreneurs and the London and San Francisco startup scene, Alastair co-founded the popular DrinkTank event and spends his free time investing in and mentoring other startups.Fresh Ink, SOCIAL BUSINESS