Many government agencies, foreign and domestic, are in the midst of large-scale virtualization, cloud migration, and desktop replacement efforts. Today defense intelligence comes from an ever-growing, ever-changing landscape. Analysts monitor a broad spectrum of information - from basic data files to streaming video - all coming from different sources and security levels. Being able to quickly, easily, and securely access this data, while increasing productivity, reducing or reusing desktop hardware, decreasing costs and improving overall IT administration, is the genesis of the “next generation desktop” (NGD), a term commonly used by organizations implementing cost, space, and power saving initiatives related to their IT infrastructure.
NGD deployments must meet limited budgets and be flexible enough to rapidly react to future directions. The main technical objectives of an NGD initiative are to provide a VDI solution for data center consolidation, to securely deliver information from multiple sensitivity levels to one desktop device, and to provide access to mission and graphically intensive applications utilizing sever-based computing.
In the past, accessing multiple classified networks at different classification levels required a separate desktop machine for each level to ensure network separation. Today, users with this requirement have widely adopted cross domain solutions to provide secure network separation on the back end while enabling access to multiple networks from a single desktop.
Another objective of NGD is to ensure that agencies are prepared to quickly embrace future technologies. This includes leveraging industry-standard commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and software that can easily adopt new features and functionality as they become available. This allows the infrastructure to be adaptive and responsive to the speed of technology development.
Leveraging the successes of various NGD deployments, the Intelligence Community (IC) is working toward the goal of implementing a Common Operating Environment (COE) that will be accessed by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), National Security Agency (NSA), National Geospatial Agency (NGA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). These agencies have embraced the virtualization and cloud back end architectures required for consolidation and the required data security and tagging needed to preserve information ownership while promoting access.
NGD projects are being adopted throughout the DoD and IC as a means to deliver a familiar desktop, access to multiple classified networks, and reductions in hardware. The immediate benefit is a more streamlined work environment but there is also a positive financial impact from reducing power, cooling, infrastructure maintenance, and enterprise administration. There is added security in moving to a cloud environment as you eliminate the risk of data leakage or loss by removing data from the desktop. By adding a secure multilevel, multi-cloud access solution like Trusted Thin Client from Raytheon Trusted Computer Solutions, government agencies will realize the consolidation cost savings of moving the desktop to the data center, while providing the flexibility to securely access data at any sensitivity level, on any device, from any location.