A quarter of a million US Army soldiers will be using collaboration tool Google Workspace after entering into a partnership with the tech giant.
Google Cloud made its announcement last week, after the service was granted Impact Level 4 authorization by the Department of Defense in July, which sanctions its use for handling controlled unclassified information, such as that pertaining to defense and intelligence.
The partnership comes off the back of the creation of the company’s new division, Google Public Sector, responsible for providing its cloud-based services to local and federal public institutions in the US, in order to streamline their operations.
Google Workspace in the public sector
Due to the unique challenges of military employment, hybrid working and collaboration is commonplace. Google Public Sector cites their service’s ease of use as a fundamental reason for its suitability for use in the Army.
Google is also partnering with cloud infrastructure company SADA, which specializes in setting up organizations with Google Cloud, to help ease the transition for the Army’s personnel.
The ever-increasing threat of cybercrime in a military context has seemingly undeterred the US Army in deciding to adopt such a sizable cloud computing initiative. That confidence may come from Google Workspace’s zero trust policy, currently considered to be the gold standard in cloud security.
In simple terms, any user, regardless of their location, needs to be authenticated before they are granted access.
Common methods of enforcing zero trust include 2-factor authentication (2FA), which requires the user to have another device, typically a smartphone, from which to verify their identity and grant access to the service in question on their primary device.
The US Army deal is just another example of how Google’s cloud offerings are drawing attention from public sectors across the globe.
In 2020, the UK Government signed a deal with Google Cloud to bring cloud computing to public sector services like the National Health Service (NHS). While in 2022, the state of New York announced that it would partner with Google Public Sector to bring cloud computing to an air quality monitoring initiative.
Cloud computing has its benefits in a world that has sustained a shift to hybrid work. However, whether Google’s zero trust policies can continue to protect ordinary people’s data amidst a growing reliance on the cloud remains to be seen.