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Cloud storage provides greater flexibility, mobility

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Hanscom is part of a pilot program which allows network users the ability to save a large amount of data virtually.

The pilot program is a Cloud Hosted Enterprise Services, or CHES, Program Management Office-led effort to provide Air Force Network users cloud storage through OneDrive for Business.

“OneDrive ensures that a user’s files are always backed up and available in the cloud, making it easier to share data and collaborate with others,” said 2nd Lt. Caleb Gill, a Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks CHES engineer here. “Users will be able to access OneDrive via the Air Force VPN [virtual private network] anywhere, anytime.”

In addition, the application provides individual users with one terabyte of cloud storage through Office 365.

Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s CHES team, located at Hanscom AFB, launched OneDrive in three phases in conjunction with the Air Force Network Integration Center.

The first phase began last November when officials provided 100 users throughout the Air Force with the storage capability. The second phase included adding three installations.

“We began a test pilot program in late March providing users at Hanscom, Seymour Johnson and Shaw Air Force Bases with full access to OneDrive,” Gill said.

The launch at Hanscom has been successful and resulted in only a minimal amount of calls to the Hanscom Client Service Center, said John Moseley, Hanscom’s Communications and Information Support Division focal point manager, whose team is responsible for providing technical support for base users.

“The OneDrive capability will provide file backup to protect all Hanscom users’ data, and will eliminate the need for external USB [Universal Serial Bus] hard drives,” he said.

The Air Force has restricted the use of external USB storage for more than 10 years.

The final phase, scheduled to begin in early June, will allow users’ Air Force-wide the ability to save data virtually. This process will take 90 to 120 days to complete.

While the cloud storage provides similar capability as external storage devices, there are limitations.

According to Gill, the following files are restricted: .mp3, .exe, .mov, .wmv, .mp4, .pst and .iso.

“If one of these restricted file types is added to a local folder that is synced, the sync will ignore the file and not move it to OneDrive,” he said. “The sync client will notify the user in cases where they attempt to sync a restricted file.”

Gill added that storing classified information is strictly prohibited.

Cloud storage is also limited to official business-related work.

“All information stored on a user’s Air Force OneDrive should be directly attributable to the duties they perform in their official capacity,” Gill said.

First-time users are encouraged to review the information they receive via email beforehand.

“The most valuable tool users can take advantage of is the ‘first-time sign-on’ demo,” Gill said. “Once OneDrive is up and running, it runs behind the scenes and happens automatically.”

Officials encourage Hanscom users to use the storage capability.

“Cloud–based storage provides a lot of benefits for users,” said Gill. “We want to encourage people to take advantage of the service.”

Gill highlighted the teamwork to make OneDrive possible.

“We have a lot of partners in this,” he said. “We get a lot of support from different agencies throughout the Air Force, such as the EIS [Enterprise Information System] team at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Air Force Network Integration Center.”

For further information or for technical support at Hanscom, contact the Hanscom Client Service Center at 781-225-HELP (4357).