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Secure Enclaves to Support Government Programs

Minute Read

Government programs often require communication or collaboration with outside firms or agencies in service of their mission.

Depending upon the mission of the program, there may be ongoing communications required with DoD contractors and third-party auditing firms or single-point-in-time projects that require collaboration outside of government-employed staff.

Current methods to support these communications are limited primarily to specialized methods of encrypted emails like DoD Safe for instance. There hasn’t been a true shared collaboration solution that offers both the flexibility to move quickly and the feature-set for full collaboration capabilities. 

This article seeks to dive deeper into the use cases where a secure enclave would be useful and provide information about a potential solution to achieve one.

Use Cases for Secure Enclaves

There are many potential uses for secure enclaves which allow the direct and secure collaboration of a government program with third parties. The list below is not meant to be exhaustive, but instead provides some common examples from which to start.

Cyber Threat Reports

Most government programs undergo regular assessments and cyber threat reports from third-party DoD contractors or civilian agencies. In this instance, the data must be reviewed in order to conduct the assessment and the results of the assessment itself are incredibly sensitive.

Having a secure shared environment can be stood up temporarily for the duration of the assessment, and then torn down at completion, which can make this process much less arduous for all involved. It gives the assessor access to the documentation they need to complete their assessment, without concern that it will be seen by anyone other than the assessor, and allows for collaboration over the finalized report that is delivered.

Research into Emerging Technologies

Another common activity within government programs is the participation in Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR). When researching the use of an emerging technology being developed by a commercial business, securely passing information back and forth with a government program can prove difficult.

In the past, this type of communication and work has primarily been done in person. With the onset of the COVID pandemic in 2020, this type of work has all but come to a complete stop with most commercial businesses working fully remote.

A secure enclave in which a government program could securely communicate with a commercial business around the innovative technology they are developing and share information about the needs of the program can revive this effort, even in remote work situations.

Contract Negotiations

Potentially the most common occurrence and use case for a secure enclave would be contract negotiations between a government program and the contractors they use.

Securely communicating around what the contract is for, will by nature contain highly sensitive information. Being able to use a purpose-built collaborative platform for these communications allows for the easy update and change of contract terms as the contractor and program leadership agrees on terms.

A secure enclave can also be used to invite multiple contractors to bid on a single contract in a secure fashion. Releasing the contract to only those who are invited into the secure enclave keeps the requests contained within the bid, and allows for quick and seamless submission of quotes from a subset of contractors.

Missions or Weapons Platform Collaboration

There are numerous portions of a program that may require the sharing of information with contractors as part of the execution of the program. These could be items like engineering drawings shared by a contractor who is building a part. 

And often, the completion of a full project requires communication not only between the program and a single contractor, but also communication between all subcontractors that may be involved in pieces of a final finished product.

A secure enclave invites all members of a specific project into a secure space where they can share the necessary information and collaborate on the completion of a project together with program leadership, alleviating significant overhead and administration efforts.

Program Reviews

Program reviews are conducted on a regular basis and assess the health and effectiveness of a program. These reviews cover everything from the program staff itself, down to every single contractor, subcontractor and prime contractor involved in the program.

The data must be collected from each party, and then reviewed, which is typically highly sensitive. Collecting this information from so many different parties, centralizing and organizing it is a very manual and arduous task. Simplifying this with a shared secure enclave where each party can upload and share the important information they need to create a single place of organization and management.

Building a Secure Enclave for Collaboration

We’ve covered some of the example use cases for building a shared secure enclave, but now to the important part. How do you do it?

Using GoSilent Share + GoSilent Cube

You can easily build a secure enclave that can be set up temporarily (say for 6 months or a year), can be stood up and torn down in a matter of weeks, and offers up to top-secret levels of security. 

 

Our GoSilent Share file sharing service is very different, and far more secure than consumer-grade alternatives. The key factor is the fact that you can only access the file share through the use of a GoSilent Cube hardware VPN.

There are a couple of key reasons why using the GoSilent architecture, rather than connecting to a file share through the open internet, is especially beneficial to government contractors or other highly regulated industries.

  • Security of data transmission: The security provided by the GoSilent Cube offers improvements over consumer-grade services by providing NSA-grade protection for your data transmissions.
  • Guaranteed encryption levels: Because your data transmission to and from the file share can only go through a GoSilent Cube, you are 100% assured that your data will be transmitted using NSA approved encryption and security protocols. The GoSilent Cube provides an IKEv2 IPSec tunnel with X.509 certificate authentication and enhanced audit controls.
  • Access control: GoSilent Share provides all the benefits of a typical file sharing system but adds the clear assurance that only those the organization has approved can see files in your shared folder. Because each member of your secure enclave would be issued a GoSilent Cube, and your file share can only be accessed through a GoSilent Cube, it is impossible for members to share anything outside of those you’ve explicitly selected.
  • Enhanced audit controls: Most compliance mandates, and best practices, dictate that a full audit log should be available for every file activity in the share. GoSilent Share offers a full audit log of every activity tied back to the user who was issued the specific GoSilent Cube that executed that activity.
  • Control of traffic destination: By default, the GoSilent Cube is configured to only allow traffic to flow to the server or endpoint that has been configured. Meaning, once connected to an end-user device, it can ensure any and all traffic can only go to the file share or central network. 

Benefits of Using this Architecture

Some of the most important benefits of using an architecture like GoSilent Share with the GoSilent Cube to build secure enclaves are:

  • Speed to market (or speed to next step of the program): Instead of relying on the back and forth of encrypted email, and having to do a ton of manual administrative effort to pass information around to different participants in a collaborative portion of the program significantly shortens the amount of time it takes to complete the project you are working on.
  • Accelerate the program: The most common issue on any program are delays between phases of a program’s execution. If using a solution like a secure enclave can help get projects and milestones across the finish line just 5% faster, which can save tens of thousands of hours across the life of a program.
  • Reliability: The beauty of this solution is that it works anytime and anywhere. Members of the secure enclave can communicate with each other in real-time anywhere across the globe without sacrificing security.
  • Flexibility: GoSilent Share is the only solution on the market that allows for the flexibility of turning a secure enclave on and off quickly. They can be set up in as long as it takes to issue GoSilent Cubes and can be used for as little as three month increments and then torn down at completion.

Final Thoughts

Interested in seeing what it will take to build a secure enclave for your program or specific project? Get in touch with our experts to learn how easy it can be to set one up!

Read the Whitepaper: Secure-File Sharing

Secure File Sharing On-page Whitepaper