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Montana public safety agencies adopt a cloud environment


Public safety agencies across the state of Montana have begun using a secure cloud environment for data sharing capabilities. Following a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Montana Department of Justice and Datamaxx Group, all agencies were given direct access to the Datamaxx Secure Cloud, which provides law enforcement networks and homeland security information compliant with both the FBI and the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (Nlets).


The cloud can be defined as a network that computers and other devices can access anytime and anywhere they have an Internet connection. A public cloud is one where the infrastructure is made available to the general public over the Internet, whereas a private cloud offers more organizational oversight and control over the security and privacy of the network. Cloud technologies can be implemented in a wide variety of architectures and deployment models and can coexist with other technologies. Many clouds may also require different permissions for accessing information.


Using a cloud not only allows for better information sharing, it also helps with curbing costs. In a cloud environment, information exchanged between state, local and federal public safety agencies is secure, fast and a cheaper investment than most in-house solutions. Clouds eliminate many costs associated with storage, staffing, and multiple application uploads.  


Many organizations have debated the risks associated with cloud computing as it presents a more portable environment without the typical manual configurations. As technology has become more advanced, there are more solutions available for automated end-to-end security including encrypted data storage, host-intrusion detection systems, firewalls and federated identity management systems. Many of these systems can be enforced through security policies that prevent any errors associated with human configuration.


Analyst’s Take:


Public safety agencies can benefit a great deal from using the cloud. The ability to share and exchange information through a cloud can lead to faster response times and help departments better plan and prepare for responding to future emergencies or terrorist attacks. For example, a city can upload building plans to the cloud, which can then be accessed by fire departments to help determine the source of the fire as well as better identify entry and exit points.


The rising availability of cloud computing resources at a lower cost may influence more agencies to take advantage of the technology, especially in the face of tightened budgets. Both the Miami and New York City Police Departments have begun using the Datamaxx Secure Cloud, which indicates this company could become one of the leaders in providing cloud solutions. As vendors like Datamaxx become more popular, there may be more opportunities for smaller companies to form partnerships. In addition, vendors offering cloud technologies should be aware of agencies’ security and privacy needs when marketing their product to ensure all requirements are met.

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