DLA upgrades LMS, reaps cloud benefits

By Lance Carmack and Sara Moore, DLA Information Operations

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In a significant step forward, the Defense Logistics Agency recently upgraded its training delivery application and moved it into a commercial cloud environment.

This migration might be considered routine, but it was significant because the Learning Management System software suite, used to manage and deliver online education courses and training, also contained sensitive user data. So Defense Department approval was necessary before the application could be hosted by a commercial vendor.  

DLA set up a cross-functional team to help SAP National Security and Amazon Web Services successfully address some 400 security controls and questions posed to them by the DoD. Teresa Cesario, DLA Information Operations project manager, and Michelle Jacobs, Defense Information Systems Agency Liaison and Hosting director, sponsored the vendors.

Previously, “the DoD had not certified commercial cloud vendors for applications like LMS,” Jacobs noted. “The team’s achievement was groundbreaking and it serves as a model for others in DoD to follow.”

While the private sector has taken advantage of commercial cloud vendors, DoD accreditation rules for applications with personal information have slowed government migration. But thanks to DLA’s hard work and determination, the agency is enjoying commercial efficiencies. DLA employees are also reaping benefits from the upgrade, enjoying a less cluttered LMS front page. The cloud solution has also greatly improved reliability and speed of the delivery of courses worldwide.

Cesario said other organizations are also contacting DLA to follow in its footsteps. “We’ve already been talking to other agencies and exchanged lessons learned,” she said. In particular, DISA is using DLA’s feedback to streamline future commercial certifications and help speed the approval process even more for others in DoD. “There’s definitely an interest,” she said.