Level 3 takes FBI functions to the cloud

Under a subcontract, Level 3 will provide content delivery services under a cloud model for the FBI.

Level 3 Communications Inc. has won a contract to provide content delivery network services for the FBI’s primary Web site. The value of the award, made through FBI prime contract holder McLean, Va.-based Human Touch LLC, was not disclosed.

Human Touch in August 2010 won a $4.9 million, four-year award from the FBI to provide technical resources necessary to host the agency’s new Web site and help the agency implement a Web 2.0 framework.

Under the Human Touch award for the FBI Web site project, Level 3 will provide content delivery network (CDN) services to improve the site’s performance, including refreshing content more quickly, improving traffic monitoring and enhancing security while reducing associated costs.

Level 3 will deliver caching services for the site and local home pages for the bureau’s 56 field offices across the country as well as its site for citizens to report suspected terrorism or criminal activity.

The company’s CDN is designed to help customers control quality from creation to consumption, Level 3 said in a statement. Its CDN combines an extensive Internet backbone with a sophisticated content delivery platform for a highly scalable system, the company said. That helps protect customer Web sites from ploys such as denial-of -service attacks, as well as, in the case of the FBI, their own public.

For example, an agency published a highly anticipated report, and their servers couldn’t handle the volume of requests for it, said Edward Morché, senior vice president of federal markets for Level 3. That won’t happen with Level 3 hosting the site, he said. “We ran the SuperBowl broadcast traffic last weekend — you can’t have enough traffic to bring our network down.”

To further enhance security on this private cloud implementation, “the FBI accesses our server to do updates; no one accesses their server,” he said. The set-up keeps their server — and the data on it — behind the firewall. “It’s secure because there is no access to it from the outside,” he said.

Additionally, “the FBI maintains their data on their own server, they handle their own Web site creation, and they decide when and what to update,” he said.

“The public looks to the FBI’s Web site for timely, important information, which is why it is critical for the Web site to be fast and easy to navigate, easy to manage and cost-effective — and that’s exactly what we delivered,” Morché said.

Broomfield, Colo.-based Level 3 holds an Enterprise contract under the General Services Administration’s Networx telecommunications acquisition vehicle.