European leader in defence and cybersecurity Thales has announced a preferred partnership with Microsoft for the development of a common Defence Cloud solution for armed forces – a system designed to allow armed forces to securely store sensitive data within their own infrastructures.
The new solution, which will be jointly developed by both companies, is based on the Microsoft Azure Stack platform – a services-oriented and flexible hybrid cloud environment that will be fully cyber-secured and adapted to military resilience constraints by Thales.
The announcement follows the launch of Thales’ Nexium Defence Cloud – a highly secluded private cloud infrastructure system, at a time where armed forces around the world are investing heavily in digital transformation.
Together the two groups will become the first to offer a complementary solution adapted to the differing needs of armed forces from national command centres down to individual theatres of operations, with no compromise on security.
Trusted and secure
Microsoft’s Azure Stack platform will be delivered as an integrated system and will form the foundation on which Thales will integrate its connectivity and end-to-end cybersecurity and encryption solutions. This will handle the most sensitive data, allowing it to be hosted on the Ministry of Defence’s headquarters, or deployed in the field.
The system itself combines the cloud computing power and functionalities of Azure Stack with Thales’s resilient and robust cybersecurity functionalities, which are crucial to ensuring the security of all sensitive and classified armed forces data.
The elegance of combining both companies’ solutions will provide armed forces with a flexible cloud application platform that goes far beyond the basic functionalities of data storage and management, offering functionality that existing secured defence clouds do not currently possess.
“This preferred partnership reflects the shared spirit and passion for breakthrough technologies between our two groups and our teams,” states Philippe Keryer, Executive Vice-President, Strategy, Research and Technology, Thales.
“We are glad to reinforce our strong relationship with Microsoft through this new venture. Together, we will shape this new technological construct perfectly suited to support the evolving security needs of modern armed forces as they accelerate their digital transformation.”
Implementation of the solution will be bolstered by Thales’s expertise as a field integrator. Due to the unique environment that this cloud platform will operate in, including remote locations, the platform will need to be configured differently to that of a commercial system.
Each integrated system will, for example, require a level of autonomy, and must be capable of working offline in case of a connection loss due to conditions on the ground. Systems must also be portable (as opposed to large data centre infrastructures typical of commercial clouds), and be ruggedized and hardened to ensure resilience when deployed in the field.
These specific configurations and adaptions are at the core of Thales’ role as a field integrator and electronics system developer. Armed forces will be able to use the size and scope of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform whilst maintaining a robust and secured cloud for the classified material they need to accomplish their national defence mission, thus achieving maximum flexibility with maximum security.
“We are thrilled to announce our unique partnership with Thales to accelerate digital transformation in the defence sector,” states Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations, Microsoft.
“Our solution, Microsoft Azure Stack will help armed forces in the analysis of huge volumes of sensitive data in order to make break through developments. Together with Thales, we will be able to provide a flexible cloud platform with an unequalled level of security that will help overcome challenges within the defence industry.”