On Premise vs Cloud Software in Defense Sector

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By Matthew Medley, Global Industry Director Aerospace and Defense at IFS

No one-size fits all. Your Development, your choice.

Over the last decade, the acceptance of SaaS-based software deployments in defense applications has been a subject of much debate. While military forces have historically approached cloud adoption with caution, progress is now evident.

GlobalData estimates current SaaS IT spending in Aerospace, Defense & Security at $340.4 billion, projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) exceeding 17% from 2021 to 2026. Major defense forces are integrating cloud into their modernization strategies, yet concerns persist over specific deployment scenarios.

Cloud adoption advances in military services

The advantages of embracing cloud technology are evident. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) introduced its dedicated DoD Cloud Strategy, making significant strides in enterprise cloud deployment. John B. Sherman, the Defense Department CIO, emphasized the positive impact on the Joint All Domain Command and Control initiative, as well as advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, software modernization, and cybersecurity.

Similarly, the U.K. Ministry of Defence outlined its Cloud Strategic Roadmap for Defence in a policy paper this year, expressing a clear intention to coordinate and expedite ambitious plans for widespread cloud adoption within its defense forces. The U.K. MOD recognizes the strategic value of data and envisions a future where it can leverage data for faster decision-making, maintaining a competitive edge in integrated global warfare across all domains.

A single solution cannot meet the different requirements of the defense industry

Given the sensitive nature of defense operations and the extensive network across the supply chain, the choice between on-premises and cloud deployment is not universally applicable. It’s crucial to select the right approach based on the specific use case. According to insights from an IFS webinar attended by prominent defense manufacturers, only 3% exclusively deploy their ERP software in the cloud, while 64% opt for a combination of on-premises and cloud-based deployments or solely on-premises solutions. It’s evident that there will be an ongoing necessity to support both deployment models in the defense sector, ensuring functionality, performance, and security are not compromised.

IFS Cloud: Empowering Defense Organizations with Deployment Options

That’s why IFS introduced IFS Cloud — to consolidate a variety of capabilities into a unified platform. IFS Cloud is a cohesive product featuring deployable capabilities, allowing defense organizations to adopt them individually at their own pace, with a deployment model tailored to their needs.

IFS Cloud is specifically tailored to the defense industry, offering a comprehensive range of solutions to address the intricate requirements of organizations involved in constructing, operating, maintaining, or supporting mission-critical military assets. These requirements span from incorporating Defense Contract Management into U.S. manufacturing operations to overseeing maintenance and execution for cutting-edge military platforms and facilitating the deployment and operation of military UAVs. Critically, IFS Cloud makes these capabilities accessible through both on-premises and cloud-based software deployments. This eliminates the necessity for integrating, operating, supporting, and updating separate products individually.

On-premise or in the cloud – your choice

The typical challenges faced by defense contractors stem from managing numerous disparate point solutions and intricate integrations, leading to considerable difficulties in maintaining seamless communication between them. Compound this with the fact that major defense contractors, with budgets ranging from $20 billion to $100 billion, operate across numerous sites, and the sheer complexity of their expansive IT landscape becomes overwhelming.

The comprehensiveness of IFS Cloud, covering every aspect from inception to decommissioning, simplifies this intricate web. It offers an all-encompassing, ready-to-use solution for the diverse needs of defense contractors, with the added benefit of supporting the entire lifecycle of military assets or programs—both presently and in the future.The significant advantage? These essential functionalities crucial for maintaining the mission-readiness of military equipment can be seamlessly accessed, whether deployed on-premises or in the cloud.

No compromise on deployment for the sake of security and data sovereignty

However, ensuring security should not be sacrificed in any deployment scenario. IFS Cloud is implemented on Microsoft Azure and is accessible in select Microsoft Azure data centers across the globe, enabling customers to choose a location aligned with their specific needs. This includes considerations like network latency or data sovereignty.

Whether opting for on-premises or hybrid cloud deployment, IFS Cloud services can be configured as needed to connect to customer IT domains through an Azure Virtual Private Network (VPN) gateway or ExpressRoute circuit. VPNs establish a secure, encrypted tunnel, utilizing the public internet as the underlying transport provider, ensuring the privacy of data in transit to and from Azure. These site-to-site VPNs use IPsec for transport encryption.

Securing Mission-Critical Operations with Information Assurance

IFS Cloud undergoes annual testing by a trusted third-party to ensure robust security. This includes comprehensive testing of both infrastructure and applications, replicating real-world scenarios over the internet. IFS Cloud is adept at supporting mission-critical defense deployments, offering flexibility in deployment, whether in the cloud or a secure on-premises location. Notably, it serves renowned defense organizations globally, such as Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Navy, Babcock, Portsmouth Aviation, Swedish Defense Material Administration (FMV), Norwegian Navy, and others, emphasizing that cloud deployment options are customizable.

To find out more about IFS Cloud for Defense see our brochure!

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