The Defence Industry is a complex and critical sector involving many different companies, from technology start-ups to the world’s largest manufacturers, who provide products and services to enable and support the military and national security. The MOD’s digital strategy is moving at pace and the way in which Industry collaborates is experiencing a major change. MOD Cloud focuses on how MOD themselves adopt cloud services, development of the Digital Backbone and the end of traditional services such as access to MOD networks (RLI/ALI) from dedicated managed laptops by the end of 2023. Considering this, the way that Industry securely communicates between themselves, and the MOD must also evolve. So, what does this mean for the professional companies trying to connect securely with the MOD? What is the future of communication with the MOD, what is the replacement and what is coming next?
The Current Situation
Although the largest Prime contractors in the Defence Industry have their own connections to MOD Networks such as the RLI/ALI, many suppliers both direct to MOD and more predominately throughout the Defence supply chain that have a need to access and share data and services via or on the RLI. These organisations have been using approved, dedicated devices to connect to the MOD network using SSCL managed services such as Electronic Messaging Services (EMS) and Secure Connect Industry (SCI). It is these services that may no longer be available beyond December 2023, but what is the alternative?
Individuals working in regulated industries, and particularly in Defence, are used to working from, and carrying, multiple different laptops and devices needed for the specific connections to networks and services. Though this mitigates risk by allowing stricter control over access to sensitive information, it creates a rather inconvenienced individual. As the MOD themselves continue to move towards cloud-based services, there is an opportunity to evolve the way that secure access and collaboration is achieved, taking on the secure by design and Zero Trust principles to enable sharing of required data rather than networks.
Transitioning to a Different Approach
With the support contract for the managed laptop service coming to an end, many have been asking whether this is the next step in furthering the technology behind these important systems. Perhaps a space will now open for the development of new systems and technologies to overcome these inconveniences. Opportunities will arise with the approach the MOD can take in collaborating with outside companies. But as these discussions progress, and the technology behind it grows ever more complex, what is replacing this approach and what is coming next?
There is a clear intent to enhance the ways of collaborative working with several ongoing programmes and engagement with the Industry through groups such as TechUK; but when and how these will meet the ongoing requirement for the Defence Industry is a concern.
An existing and accreditable alternative approach is offered though Platform FLEX, a Nine23 owned, fully managed and secure UK Sovereign private cloud infrastructure delivered from List X/Facility Security Clearance (FSC) & Police Assured Secure Facility (PASF). In line with our mission to support the operational end user, it does exactly that; FLEX It enables the end user to function more effectively and productively in the field; accessing, sending, and sharing data as needed, using the corporate managed device and virtualisation rather than additional hardware. Platform FLEX has secure network access for MODNet and RLI connection, allowing for safe communication and shared data access between industry partners and the MOD. The platform further promotes the MOD and HMG’s cloud first adoption, along with the rest of the world, providing industry professionals with the right tools to perform their jobs as efficiently as possible.
In today’s modernising world, it is more important than ever to stay connected, while ensuring you give yourself the best advantage through collaboration to deliver on your commitments; Platform FLEX may be an answer to these challenges.