Across the globe, industries and consumers alike are experiencing a massive increase in the volume of data created, and it’s no different in government-related industries like defense and intelligence. However, one issue these sectors face that’s perhaps quite unique is the way their data is segregated into different classifications for reasons of security and confidentiality.

From SCI data (Sensitive Compartmented Information) to “top secret” data, each level of information requires a different system to be in place. However, the systems currently in place typically haven’t provided the most flexible or secure method of handling this information.

Flexible and secure method to handle Top Secret data

So what’s the solution?

The answer is a multi-level security (MLS) system. This type of ecosystem provides programmatic access to sensitive information across multiple levels of user access. This allows an organization to simultaneously run all user and system security levels across multiple departments, rather than isolating them.

This is no longer just a concept. MLS is an achievable architecture, and when implemented properly is affordable, saves time and resources, and can secure the world’s most sensitive data.

Systems that enforce Mandatory Access Controls and end-to-end multi-level security

MLS is supported by Federal System Integrators and by major manufacturers across the globe, including Seagate who since 2015 has been committed to meeting the growing storage needs of government agencies through its Government Solutions business.

At this year’s GEOINT 2017 Symposium, Seagate is highlighting its ClusterStor SL220, the only distributed Lustre file system solution that enforces Mandatory Access Controls and end-to-end MLS. GEOINT is the annual conference hosted and produced by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), a non-profit, non-lobbying educational organization, and is the nation’s largest gathering of industry, academia, and government to include Defense, Intelligence and Security communities as well as commercial, federal, state and local geospatial intelligence stakeholders.

As new regulations come into force in the US and across Europe regarding data encryption, the Seagate ClusterStor SL220 will play an important role to help IT architects overcome legacy barriers in this space, providing safe, scalable and fast performance, while reducing both operational and management complexity.

Who is leading implementation of MLS architecture

Seagate is already working with a number of partners that have implemented the MLS architecture, powered by ClusterStor SL220. Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, is one member of a global consortium that has developed the latest architecture for governmental organizations, with potential for this to be replicated in commercial networks too.

Leidos, the largest US government IT integrator, and Cray, a leading supercomputer manufacturer, are also part of the consortium, helping ensure that the data-centric MLS environment has been used, tested and validated by multiple developers, administrators and experts in the industry.

These strategic partnerships are being formed with Seagate Technology at the core in order to address the unique challenges faced in the development of technology infrastructure for national security and intelligence. These organizations not only demand speed and scalability in their computational processes and applications, but also a system that can provide the protection of classified data, in the face of very specific — and mandatory — security protocols.

Ensuring the right ecosystem to protect data

Data, and data security, is becoming an imperative of any organization, from governmental through to consumer-facing. Ensuring that you have the right ecosystem around you to store, analyze and protect data can’t be ignored — for if it is, both the lifespan of that data and its security will be dramatically reduced.

We’re proud of our work at Seagate in helping to overcome these issues and look forward to bringing Seagate’s ClusterStor portfolio to bear to benefit more organizations and businesses across industries. To find out more please join us at GEOINT this week. We’ll be at booth numbers 1059 (Seagate) and 619 (Seagate Government Solutions). Alternatively visit us at

William M Downer, Jr. is senior director, National Programs, Seagate Government Solutions

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