AT&T Launches Government-Grade Cloud Storage

By Pedro Hernandez

Add AT&T to the list of tech companies wooing U.S. federal government workloads.

The company today announced AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service (STaaS) for Government, a hardened version of its enterprise cloud storage offering specifically built for U.S. government agencies. The service, based on EMC's Atmos cloud storage software platform, adds new features aimed at keeping a lid on sensitive data.

STaaS is part of the company's government-focused slate of professional and IT services called AT&T Federal Solutions. Other offerings include broadband, cloud computing, mobile connectivity and traditional calling and VoIP services.

Government customers need not worry that their data mingles with that of commercial clients, asserts AT&T. Government data is placed in its own logical cloud and storage management is subject to a separate cloud portal partition, added the company.

AT&T's security bleeds into the physical realm as well.

Customers and authorized users are issued RSA hardware tokens – thumb drive-sized devices that display a numerical sequence that enhances password security -- enabling support for two-factor authentication. In the data center, storage towers assigned to government customers "are physically separated from other users' towers," claims AT&T.

According to Kay Kapoor, president of AT&T Government Solutions, the U.S. government is struggling between adopting modern work styles, cost and of course, data security. "Our new STaaS for Government offer delivers the key attributes Federal buyers require and allows them to move to the cloud with ease and confidence," she said in a statement.

Citing figures from a Meritalk survey, AT&T asserts that the federal government could save $18.9 billion a year by moving to the cloud. Yet, only 41 percent of agencies polled by the government IT specialist said they were considering cloud computing.

AT&T is one of several tech heavyweights attempting to lure Uncle Sam to the cloud.

IBM announced that it was opening two SoftLayer-based cloud data centers for U.S. government workloads in June. IBM acquired SoftLayer, a provider of public, private and hybrid cloud solutions, a year earlier in June 2013.

Last year, Microsoft announced a dedicated version of its cloud computing platform for government agencies, called Azure U.S. Government Cloud. Built with the help of partners like defense contractor Lockheed Martin, the offering is "a community cloud available for U.S. state, local, and federal government agencies hosted in Microsoft datacenters located in the U.S. and managed by U.S. personnel," said Susie Adams, CTO Microsoft Federal in a statement.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on September 02, 2014