Dell Cloud Platform for Government Builds on Health Care Approach

Dell has announced Dell Cloud for U.S. Government and says the product will be a tailored approach similar to that of its health care platforms.

Dell has unveiled a new cloud platform for federal agencies designed with a compliance framework and scalable approach similar to its health care cloud products.

Announced on June 11, Dell Cloud for U.S. Government is built to meet federal standards such as the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) approval process in a way that's similar to how Dell's cloud platforms for health care are designed to conform to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

The Dell Cloud for U.S. Government is available as a multitenant, on-premises or hybrid platform.

Federal agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs and military health services prefer their own dedicated cloud over a multitenant environment, noted Jeff Lush, CTO for Dell Services Federal Government and a former VA executive CTO. They can host the dedicated cloud in an on-premises data center and then offer it as a service to their sub-agencies, according to Lush.

"They can purchase this as a solution and manage it with their own people, or host it in their data center and have our people manage it," Lush told eWEEK. "We're very flexible—the cloud is built to meet the customers, not the customer needs to meet the cloud."

Government agencies may require different compliance frameworks for each mission, Lush said. The new cloud platform incorporates 295 security controls that can be built dynamically to meet the needs of various areas of the government, such as the Department of Defense, he said.

Dell also aims to make the platform flexible for government agencies by offering it as an infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) or software as a service (SaaS), Dell reported.

In health care, Dell has tailored cloud platforms such as the Unified Clinical Archive to meet the need of radiologists analyzing large amounts of medical images. Dell has also contributed a cloud platform to expand the scope of personalized medical trials for pediatric cancer.

The federal cloud product offers automated workflow, provisioning, rapid scalability and metered pricing.

About 95 percent of the federal cloud platform is built with Dell hardware, along with Red Hat's Kernel-Based Virtual Machine (KVM), Lush said. The software components of the cloud platform are "controlled open source," he said.

In addition to HIPAA, the Dell federal cloud's compliance framework can be scaled to comply with the Department of Defense Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Process (DIACAP) and the 2002 Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Lush said.

FISMA provides general guidelines on how government agencies can secure their IT infrastructure. Requirements under FISMA include periodic assessments of risk, such as unauthorized access or disclosure, and a security awareness program for workers.

By conforming to FISMA, federal health care customers, particularly the VA, will be able to take advantage of additional security controls, Lush said.

"Our health care customers can take advantage of similar features they're using in a multitenant environment but in a FISMA-controlled environment," he said.

HIPAA provides regulations on securing patient data found in electronic health records (EHRs), while FISMA covers the overall IT infrastructure, according to Lush.

"For health care, it offers a greater flexibility for them to be compliant," Lush said. "A lot of health care has only been concerned with HIPAA, but now the future is pushing them closer and closer to FISMA, and this is a quick and easy way for them to get there without having to go to a huge public cloud."