AWS Public Sector Blog

AWS GovCloud (US) helps ASD cut costs by 50% while dramatically improving security

No one denies that military operations are very high risk. And in high risk operations, it is essential to assess risks and plan for mitigation. Enter the business of military organizational assessments, in which squadrons, battalions, companies, and detachments routinely turn to their own members to assess the safety climate of their organizations.

In August 2005, Dr. Robert Figlock and Michael Schimpf formed Advanced Survey Design, LLC (ASD) to deliver reliable, relevant, and responsive data to a growing number of Department of Defense (DoD) organizations that embrace data-driven decision-making. To obtain real-time, anonymous feedback about the safety challenges a military organization faces, ASD conducts surveys on behalf of various military agencies. Survey topics range from flight operations, aircraft maintenance safety, ground safety procedures, hazing, sexual harassment, drinking and driving, and other areas of concern to military units. The goal is to help clients better understand their organizational climate so as to maximize the benefit of actions taken to mitigate hazards.

As a small business focused on supporting organizational assessments for thousands of squadrons and battalions each year within the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, ASD requires both scalability and the strongest information security.  For this, ASD turned to AWS GovCloud (US).

“What we got when we switched to Amazon was an improvement across the board in every metric. The cost dropped by more than 50%, security improved dramatically, we are now able to scale to over 2,500 respondents per hour, and the site runs better than it ever did before,” offered Michael Schimpf, VP Operations at ASD.

When you think of surveys (especially surveys containing DoD information), data integrity and security are of utmost importance. Prior to operating in AWS GovCloud (US), ASD had a dedicated server and the web hosting provider had access to the box. This raised concerns about the possibility of rogue employees at the web hosting company being able to view ASD’s customer data. That concern was eliminated with AWS because only ASD personnel have logical access to ASD’s GovCloud data. Additionally, the AWS GovCloud (US) region is managed by and accessible to U.S. Persons and adheres to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), as well as Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and DoD Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (SRG) Impact Levels 2-4 requirements.

“A big driver of our decision to move to AWS GovCloud (US) was that the people who had access to the equipment were screened and were U.S. persons. This was important to us, and even more important to our customers,” Michael said, “Our Air Force customer was actually the one who suggested we look at Amazon Web Services back in 2013.”

With contracts with Naval Aviation, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, NASA, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the British Royal Airforce (RAF), ASD will not compromise with compliance and security in the cloud.

Learn more about ASD and whether AWS GovCloud (US) is right for your business.