AKO Virtualization

The Army Knowledge Online platform is evolving to support its current infrastructure with fewer resources.  This is accomplished with industry best practices and standards.  If big companies and big government does not evolve with the technology they are only posing a greater risk to vulnerabilities and threats, targeting the heart of our military.  It’s good to know that AKO has recognized this need, and is using the recent email theft as leverage to support the cause.  At the end of the day the AKO portal will have a centralized location to provide valuable information to active duty, retirees and dependents.

Cloud computing has become a new best practice because it is able to provide the same service to clients as physical servers.  This concept saves a lot of money on resources, and proves to be an efficient method to conduct business while reducing the carbon footprint.  Virtualization is a concept that has already been adopted and implemented by other government agencies and huge corporations.  It uses the “work smarter, not harder” approach and helps save tax payers a lot of money.

Just because there is a centralized reference point for information doesn’t mean individuals are completely safe from leaked information.  In fact centralized architecture creates a single point of failure.  Even though virtualization creates simple and effective ways to rebuild failed services and recover more quickly, people information is still left out there as bait for the adversary to tap into.

Killing the power alone will shut down an entire cloud environment.  Without power, Google doesn’t rule, and communication will come to a screaming halt.  Virtualization is a convenient way of running web applications, concatenating databases and offering interactive tools to support customers, and in the case of AKO its active duty, retired and dependent members.

Members will have to be security savvy to know what the normal AKO behavior is, because if the page gets hijacked, millions of individuals will be at risk for identity theft.  There is something to be said about the “old school” systems.  Still, members must be armed with knowledge so they are able to identify potential attacks, or social engineering techniques found in spam email.

Who is converting the current AKO portal to the new virtualization or cloud network?  General Dynamics is the mover and shaker to implement this conversion.  They are industry leaders with technology and have a sound relationship with the government.  All 1.4 million email accounts will be rolled over to the new platform with tighter security policies and encryption methods as an added layer of security.  However, there will always be resistance; always is a backdoor for people to penetrate networks from.  Hopefully, General Dynamics will be proactive with their scanning and remediation procedures to protect exploited vulnerabilities.  Security clearances are important when dealing with these types of migrations.  Members can lift information on drives and walk right out the door, even information may conveniently become lost during the migration and that intel indicator of something bad will be overlooked because leadership will tolerate it because of the transition.