The MoD required an enhanced, secure Cloud Interoperability service to improve information transfer between multiple international partners. This allowed them to leverage the best capabilities from a number of commercial vendors into a single platform that not only meets the user requirements but also ensures value for money.

Capabilities Employed

The Challenge

This project was needed to deliver improved services enhancing the performance of Interoperability Gateway solutions and facilitate the transfer of data and information.

The design, development and implementation of a next-generation cloud infrastructure is necessary for satisfying updated technical requirements and enabling the provision of Interoperability Services and Gateways between the UK and its partners.

There were a number of constraints on the technology involved such as availability, reduced programme funding and the requirements of National and International policies and procedures to meet specific system accreditations.

The project mandated:

Digital Transformation – The re-engineering of legacy solutions and infrastructures to ensure the extensibility and scalability of critical systems.

Connectivity and Security – The design of complex network architectures to provide reliable communication within UK government.

System Architecture – The design and implementation of comprehensive system architectures that adhere to security standards elevated beyond what was readily available within the public domain.

The creation of a Cyber Security Strategy and architectural footprint was also required to counter increasingly sophisticated Cyber threats.

The Solution

SA Group specialist consultants undertook extensive research into comprehensive IT systems to identify suitable technologies and design a complex network architecture footprint using cutting-edge private and public cloud infrastructure technologies.

The solution needed to comply with NCSC standards for high classification level data transfer, and provide unlimited secure data exchange. Commercial technologies supplied by AWS, Azure and G-Suite were not feasible due to inadequate security categorisation, therefore the solution needed to be bespoke.

A next-generation Cloud Interoperability infrastructure prototype was built, following the Government Digital Services (GDS) agile development and deployment model. Security design patterns were developed by SA Group consultants in concert with those in existence from NCSC. They developed and utilised a Proof of Concept (POC) program in Java to demonstrate the potential of certain concepts in the real world application.

Modern, customised, software-defined cloud components were incorporated into the new platform design, ensuring the best value for money was adhered to at all times. A unique cyber security strategy was created to implement the digital transformation requirement.

Any issues were mitigated by building simple prototypes to emulate various real-world applications and lower the technology readiness levels acceptable. SA Group consultants engaged with all key stakeholders throughout the process to facilitate re-engineering and a P3M Agile approach to change where required.

The Result

An innovative, bespoke software prototype rig was successfully engineered, tested and implemented. This achieved the necessary cost reduction and met both national and international security requirements along with rigorous NCSC standards.

All Interoperability Services were consolidated into one area combining several separate innovation capabilities and streamlining workflows which enhanced the overall performance, this was carried out to a standard that could be utilised within the both commercial and public sector.

The solution is scalable, automated and uses assured service-oriented architecture. It does not limit vendors and encompasses the management of the required computer systems and software.

SA Group specialist consultants continue to manage the development and operation which embodies an array of technologies that facilitate the transfer of vital data and information between domains.

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