Bad Guys Trying to Steal Digital Information

Moving Law Enforcement to the Cloud

Today, businesses and governments around the world are realizing the benefits of cloud computing. These include better security, lower cost, disaster resilience and the ability to work anywhere, any time on any device.

However, until recently, law enforcement agencies, such as police departments, have been unable to take advantage of these benefits because they are subject to more strict confidentiality and security rules (CJIS) and many of their applications require Legacy Windows environments which are not conducive to mobile devices or browsers, the primary platforms of cloud computing.

Consequently, they have had to continue to dump thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars into IT infrastructures that were designed for a 1980’s world without mobile devices and have been subjugated to constant cyber attacks such as the recent ransomware attack in the City of Atlanta, Georgia. Their operations and data also continue to be highly susceptible to a disaster.

Thankfully, times are changing as more and more government agencies have come to the realization that cloud computing is far more secure and cost-effective than traditional on-premise legacy systems. There is no better evidence of this than the December 2017 White House Report that stated that “the U.S. government needs a major overhaul of information technology systems and should take steps to better protect data and accelerate efforts to use cloud-based technology.” The report went on to say “Difficulties in agency prioritization of resources in support of IT modernization, ability to procure services quickly, and technical issues have resulted in an unwieldy and out-of-date federal IT infrastructure”.

So, with the strict CJIS requirements and heavy dependency on Legacy Computing, one might ask if it is even possible for Law Enforcement to take advantage of the cloud. The answer is absolutely!

Consider companies like CJIS Solutions, who specializes in CJIS Compliant cloud-hosted products and space for law enforcement agencies. They have built their business model around providing law enforcement agencies a way to leverage many of the benefits of the cloud while staying in compliance with CJIS. They offer everything from simple tools to securely transmit case files and videos to the courts to comprehensive hosting and management of complex Windows server-based applications such as ticket writing, body cams and case management.

The adoption of cloud computing appears to be gaining traction from law enforcement agencies as many of their core applications are now purely cloud-based and certain cloud-based applications and services provided by companies like Google and Microsoft are becoming CJIS compliant. Even stubborn states like Texas are starting to come on board as they recently joined 33 other states who have approved Microsoft Azure as a certified solution (see Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy, State of Texas Security Policy and DPS Website), ending a long-standing policy that all law enforcement data had to be kept on-premise or within Texas.

Cave Consulting is proud to partner with CJIS Solutions and offers complementary services which can help law enforcement agencies streamline processes, analyze data and ensure email retention compliance with tools born in the Google Cloud.

Fillable PDF’s which require a Windows environment can be replaced with mobile-friendly online forms that collect data for tracking, manipulation and document creation and custom applications that break down and display data in easy-to-read charts and graphs can be developed and tailored to specific agency/departmental needs.

Insecure email that cannot be subjected to department and/or organization-wide e-discovery or retention compliance can be replaced with cost-effective CJIS compliant email with G Suite (with added encryption tool through – Virtru).

While adequate internet access can deter law enforcement agencies from leveraging these emerging cloud technologies, it is only a matter of time before that obstacle is overcome as high-speed broadband is becoming a reality in even the most remote communities with services such as Fixed-Wireless and 5G, which is beginning to roll out.