Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) expands services, increases security and brings new agility with help from EasyDynamics and Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Homeland Security Information Network

DHS has a vital mission—safeguard the American people, our homeland and our values. Information sharing is the centerpiece of this vital mission and HSIN is integral to supporting public safety. HSIN allows mission operators and first responders to share Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information between federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, international, and private sector partners for emergency response, disaster relief, and major events. To support emerging needs of first responders and improve the value of information sharing, DHS knew they needed to take advantage of the speed and flexibility of the cloud.

Managing SBU requires a set of high security and process standards to meet compliance objectives. To meet this objective, DHS turned to EasyDynamics to pioneer a FISMA High workload in AWS, a milestone that had not been accomplished by the department. The managers and engineers at EasyDynamics leveraged a mature Agile and DevSecOps practice to support the task and quickly engage with the department.

The Challenge

  • The department did not have a process to accredit FISMA High workloads in a public cloud
  • Looming data center closures and increased costs made it cost prohibitive to remain in the data center
  • Data center enhancements were not keeping up with stakeholder demand
  • HSIN contains stateless and real-time rich media (desktop sharing and video conferencing), making network latency objectives a challenge while maintaining Trusted Internet Connection compliance

The Solution

To support the volume of activity, EasyDynamics engineers tailored Atlassian to manage multiple simultaneous projects to track engineering, migration and compliance activities. The team rapidly conducted an Analysis of Alternatives for over a dozen products and helped identify cloud-ready software that can reside on IaaS and selectively introduced FedRAMP’d high PaaS services as they were available. A core virtual private cloud (VPC) was built to secure, orchestrate and automate change to multiple VPCs used to manage mission applications delivering Information Sharing services to stakeholders. A network VPC was designed to route traffic through a Secure Cloud Interconnect (SCI) to establish communication with DHS data centers and achieve Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) compliance.

The Benefits

Improved Security

  • Predictable configuration via automated security controls
  • Automatic detection and resolution of change to controls

Improved Service Performance

  • Reduced time to move from requirements to functionality, increased releases by 60% within first 12 months
  • Time-required to make changes to the environment was reduced by 75%
  • Enhanced ability to rapidly develop new capabilities and services to improve mission value

Improved Security

  • Automation has allowed the program to scale at a fraction of the cost of data center
  • Total Cost of Owner (TCO) decreased by 30%