recommended reading

Pact sends highly sensitive spy agency data to the cloud


The Homeland Security Department and a U.S. espionage satellite agency are moving highly sensitive data to the cloud, through a project with CIA venture funding arm In-Q-Tel and Web startup Huddle.

On Wednesday, officials with the London-based company said the effort also involves other undisclosed intelligence agencies. Huddle’s online collaboration service enables personnel to locate and create files with colleagues internally as well as externally at partner departments.

Huddle officials were not at liberty to discuss whether DHS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency or the others are using the software to share documents with one another. CEO Alastair Mitchell would say only that “Huddle is a collaborative tool designed to work between agencies, and where that is allowed, we would seek to deliver that.”

He added, “this is really happening. It’s a combination of the demand being there from customers [and firms] like Huddle being mature enough to deliver across agencies.”

The In-Q-Tel win marks the Microsoft SharePoint rival’s first major federal work. About 80 percent of U.K. government agencies have contracts with Huddle, according to the company.

To support the U.S. intelligence community, Huddle had to meet requirements beyond those mandated by the 2002 Federal Information Security Act and the new governmentwide cloud accreditation program, called the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP, Mitchell said. Huddle is one of many Web services companies, including Microsoft, applying to obtain the first-ever FedRAMP certifications at the end of 2012.

Mitchell said In-Q-Tel eased the complex and lengthy process of meeting every agency’s security demands.

The new partnership is In-Q-Tel’s second cloud investment in less than a month. On Aug. 22, the tech incubator announced a deal with cloud company Adaptive Computing to develop software for back-office data management within the intelligence community.

DHS and NGA are using a Huddle public cloud that enables sharing unclassified files across departments, as well as a private cloud for highly classified exchanges, Mitchell said.

Huddle officials would not disclose the amount of funding received or product pricing. The firm’s private sector products cost between $20 and $40 a month for each computer user, according to Mitchell.

“We are excited about Huddle’s technology platform and the opportunities for secure collaboration it has the potential to provide for our intelligence community customers,” Robert Ames, a senior vice president at In-Q-Tel, said in a statement.

An eventual governmentwide shift to the cloud is expected to shave off $5 billion from the annual $80 billion federal computing budget. The General Services Administration announced on Aug. 30 a blanket purchase agreement with 17 cloud email providers that likely will prompt a number of agencies to move to Web-based email systems.

(Image via brainpencil/

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.