The Air Force is contemplating using cloud computing as it is set to shift one million unclassified network users from desktops to thin clients, NextGov reports.
The Air Force Space Command, the branch’s service network manager, said last month it was considering moving to thin or zero clients.
Those clients store applications on remote servers instead of as files like a desktop does.
Zero clients use a keyboard, mouse and monitor without processing power and thin clients have built-in processing power that supports multimedia applications, the report said.
Potential vendors have submitted questions to the Air Force regarding cloud solutions for the thin-client-based network.
The Air Force said it would consider a commercial cloud for the network if it contained required security components and provides users the same experience as with a desktop.
All of the service branches could eventually shift their unclassified and classified thin-client networks into a commercial cloud, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Bernie Skoch said to NextGov.
Skoch said thin-client security will have to include user authentication, a computer chip-based card for logging onto military networks and connectivity that can withstand distributed denial-of-service attacks.
According to Skoch, thin clients offer an easier security environment than desktops since users are unable to load their own software.
The devices are also easier to update, Skoch said to NextGov.
Thin client users can be more mobile, according to Skoch, because they save documents to the cloud and can access them anywhere.
Devon IT Marketing Vice President Paul Mancini said to NextGov that thin clients don’t need a local storage and are immune to viruses and other variations of malware.
However, Mancini suggested a government cloud would provide more security than a commercial cloud.