Mashups Give Defense Department Strategic Edge - Page 3

Best mashup practices

Airtight security is essential for any enterprise mashup system, particularly one used by the military. Not only must the data being correlated be accurate and free from tampering, but access to the critical decision-enabling information must be strictly limited to those military officers with a need to know.

DISA runs two Presto Enterprise Mashup Servers at its DECC (Defense Enterprise Computing Center) in Columbus, Ohio. One is accessible via the military's SIPRNET (Secret Internet Protocol Router Network). To access the servers, users must authenticate themselves via the DOD PKI (public-key infrastructure). The other server is connected to NIPRNET (Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router Network), which carries sensitive but unclassified information. DISA is building a mirrored implementation at a second DECC to provide redundancy.

One of the key benefits of mashup technology is that is simple and intuitive enough for users to create unique data juxtapositions without much handholding. Even so, the DOD offers supplemental training in advanced mashup methods to personnel who require it.

Although a particular mashup may be useful to the person who created it, an enterprise stands to benefit when users share mashups with others who may have the need for similar information. Otherwise, users operating in isolation must reinvent the wheel by coming up with their own mashups individually.

DISA seeks to avoid this pitfall by relying on its enterprise collaboration tools to enable its users to show one another what they have created. Mashups created on the Presto Enterprise Mashup Server are available to all authenticated users, according to Mihelcic. The DOD uses commercially managed hosted collaboration services provided by IBM as well as Carahsoft Technology, an integrator of Adobe Acrobat Connect and Jabber presence and messaging software. The collaboration tools enable commanders to participate in classified real-time chat among themselves across SIPRNET and in unclassified discussions across NIPRNET.