Air-gapped collaboration: a must-have for defense and government

Sara Ana Cemazar
March 14, 2024
min read

Protecting sensitive data is critical, particularly in the defense and government sectors. The defense sector handles sensitive information that, if disclosed, might jeopardize national security. 

In 2023, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) saw a 10% increase in cybercrime complaints compared to 2022, totaling 880,418. 

Additionally, Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) is becoming big business.

In 2021, one group, REvil, was responsible for 37% of ransomware attacks

So, the digital battleground is just as important as its physical equivalent. 

One option to ensure safe mission communication is to use a self-hosted, air-gapped environment. In this scenario, an air-gapped collaboration means working with the highest level of security but with less connectivity. Teams operate separately and only share their outcomes after following strict security checks.

This isolation provides excellent security, and prevents data breaches, unauthorized access, and more.

Let us explore the importance of air-gapped collaboration, its benefits, and how it can improve coordination, security, and reliability in regulated sectors.

What is air-gapped collaboration?

air-gapped collaboration

An air gap is a specialized security mechanism in which a computer or network is isolated and prevented from making an external connection. 

For example, an air-gapped computer is unable to access the internet or any other communications networks, ensuring perfect security for the information stored within it. 

Understanding air-gapped collaboration

Air-gapped collaboration refers to a safe method of sharing and exchanging data between devices or systems that are physically separated from unsecured networks, such as the Internet. 

Unlike traditional communication platforms that rely on internet access, air-gapped systems function in a closed loop, offering a safe conduit for sharing sensitive intelligence and coordinating operations. 

What does air-gapped collaboration entail?

  • Air-gapped collaboration technologies provide high levels of security by separating sensitive data from insecure networks. They allow users to connect safely while protecting mission-critical data.
  • Air-gapped collaboration solutions include chats, meetings, projects, and whiteboarding in a unified interface. 
  • Overall, air-gapped collaboration provides a dependable and strong option for enterprises seeking to protect important data while maintaining seamless communication 
  • It can prompt seamless government collaboration within secure environments.

Collaboration development by Rocket.Chat, Bluescape, and Pexip

Popular collaboration and communication platforms Rocket.Chat, Bluescape, and Pexip banded together to develop a safe and efficient collaboration solution tailored exclusively to government and defense organizations. 

  • Preparedness-Focused Approach

This collaboration provides a robust solution that ensures data confidentiality and improves operational preparedness and cooperation.

  • Classified Operation Toolkit

Their collective toolkit is designed to support a wide range of tasks at all classification levels, from secure headquarters to the most remote deployed forces, to accomplish mission success.

Government and defense: Why is the air-gapped approach a superior collaboration model

Traditional communication channels often fall short of meeting the rigid security requirements in the military and government, where secrecy and integrity of information are critical. The reliance on internet-based solutions further raises substantial concerns about data breaches and cyber invasions.

Rocket.Chat, Pexip, and Bluescape work together to provide a centralized digital workspace of air-gapped collaboration for chats, meetings, files, planning boards, mission data, and knowledge. 

Air-gapped collaboration has numerous advantages, making it an essential approach for these industries. 

Improving coordination

Coordination is essential for the success of defense and government operations. Defense operations involve numerous groups, both domestically and globally, necessitating smooth coordination and information exchange. 

Air-gapped collaboration provides a secure platform for unified communication, allowing various government branches, agencies, and partners to interact while successfully maintaining secrecy. 

Bluescape allows you to interact visually across all components. Here’s how:

  • Centralized communication channels: Defense companies can improve operational efficiency and collaboration efforts by centralizing communication channels in a secure environment. 
  • Develop plans: You may plan missions, talk about mission strategies, get ideas and feedback, make decisions, and solve difficulties in real time. 
  • Single source of truth: It offers a single source of truth for making data-driven judgments on the go to ensure operational responsiveness.

Secure collaboration across classification levels

With differing degrees of classification for sensitive material, secure communication across clearance levels is critical. Air-gapped environments provide for protected messaging and data sharing, meeting the needs of individuals operating at various security levels while minimizing the danger of data leakage. 

Rocket.Chat allows you to communicate without compromising data privacy or security. It is an open-source platform that benefits the public sector. Here are its notable benefits: 

  • Integration features: The platform’s extensive integration features allow you to securely interact with partners, other agencies, and allies to exchange sensitive intelligence, regardless of location or tool used.
  • Encryption: Air-gapped collaboration solutions provide strong encryption and access restrictions to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access or interception.
  • Compliance: Organizations can ensure the confidentiality and integrity of mission-critical information by separating communication channels based on classification levels and compliance with regulatory standards and security policy.

Reliability in extreme environments

Military operations are frequently conducted in hostile locations and enemy territories where traditional communication infrastructure may be unavailable or degraded. 

Air-gapped collaboration systems, which can operate in offline or disconnected modes, guarantee reliable communication even in remote or hazardous environments. It significantly increases operational effectiveness.

With Pexip, you may enable ground forces to deliver a clear image of the battlefield and maintain connectivity even in severe circumstances. 

Here’s what Pexip offers: 

  • Situational awareness: So it's more than just connectivity; it's about providing ground forces with the tools they need to successfully relay combat intelligence, deliver real-time updates, and develop situational awareness. 
  • Operational readiness: By employing resilient communication technologies, defense organizations may overcome logistical problems and sustain operational readiness in the most demanding conditions.
  • Helps real-time decisions: This enables commanders to make intelligence-driven judgments and respond in real-time to evolving scenarios.

Specifics of air-gapped collaboration

The integration of Rocket.Chat, Pexip, and Bluescape technologies resulted in a complete collaboration suite customized to the specific needs of government and defense enterprises, aligned with federal zero trust strategy.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

Talk to sales

They have teamed up to offer a secure, dependable, and unified collaboration platform that safeguards mission-critical information, improves operational preparedness, and establishes situational awareness to assure mission resilience and success.

Here are some more details on their air-gapped collaboration:

1. Secure video calls

The ability to conduct encrypted video calls in a restricted environment assures that defense personnel may communicate confidentially, regardless of their location or security clearance. 

Secure video conferences are essential for allowing distant collaboration and decision-making, especially when face-to-face meetings are impractical or risky.

Air-gapped collaboration solutions protect the privacy and security of video conferences by utilizing encryption and authentication measures, reducing the danger of eavesdropping or unwanted access. 

Additionally, features such as participant authentication and access control improve the security of video conferences.

2. Secure messaging

Secure military messaging is critical for real-time communication and information exchange among defense groups. 

Air-gapped collaboration solutions offer end-to-end encryption and message integrity verification to prevent important discussions from being compromised. 

Regardless of deployment architecture, all security controls incorporated into the system are intended to secure mission conversations and data from unauthorized access, interception, and alteration.

The collaboration platform allows you to have private military chats that are completely unreadable due to end-to-end encryption. 

Furthermore, they frequently incorporate features like message expiration and self-destruct options to preserve sensitive data even after delivery.

3. Flexible deployment options

Air-gapped collaboration platforms allow enterprises to deploy communication services in the way that best meets their needs, whether on-premises, in a secure cloud environment, or unplugged. 

Flexibility in deployment is critical for managing varied infrastructure needs and operational restrictions. By providing different deployment choices, the platform enables military firms to customize their collaborative infrastructure to suit specific security, scalability, and compliance needs. 

Furthermore, hybrid deployment approaches allow for a smooth connection with historical systems while using the benefits of modern collaborative technology.

4. Data sovereignty

Data sovereignty is crucial for protecting sensitive information and adhering to national and international legislation. 

Air-gapped collaboration solutions allow enterprises to keep control of their data by hosting communication services in secure on-premises environments. 

With a 180+ role-based authorization system, encrypted file sharing, and stringent identity validation, the platform allows you to control access to sensitive data.

It also allows you to monitor critical information shared within and outside of the workplace, thanks to thorough audit logs and robust data loss prevention procedures. 

By storing data within national boundaries and under organizational control, defense enterprises can reduce the risk of data exposure and maintain compliance with data protection rules and regulations. This is also one of the main requirements for effective public safety communication platforms.

5. Regulatory compliance

Government and defense organizations must comply with strict regulatory requirements in order to demonstrate adherence to industry standards and security best practices. 

Air-gapped collaboration systems fulfill high regulatory requirements and certifications, such as ISO 27001, SOC 2, FedRAMP, and Department of Defense (DoD) approvals, confirming their capacity to handle classified information and meet government security demands.

air-gapped collaboration

These solutions help firms retain compliance while encouraging collaboration by adopting powerful security controls and adhering to industry best practices. 

By collaborating with a certified platform, military firms may confidently implement collaboration solutions, knowing that they meet the necessary criteria for managing sensitive information.

Frequently asked questions about <anything>

Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
Related Article:
Team collaboration: 5 reasons to improve it and 6 ways to master it
Want to collaborate securely with your team?
Deploy Rocket.Chat on-premise or in the cloud and keep your conversations private.
  • Digital sovereignty
  • Federation capabilities
  • Scalable and white-labeled
Talk to sales
Looking for a HIPAA-ready communications platform?
Enable patients and healthcare providers to securely communicate without exposing their data.
  • Highly scalable and secure
  • Full patient conversation history
  • HIPAA-ready
Talk to sales
The #1 communications platform for government
Deploy Rocket.Chat on-premise, in the cloud, or air-gapped environment.
  • Digital sovereignty
  • Trusted by National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the US Army, the US Navy, and the US Air Force
  • Matrix federation capabilities
Talk to sales
Want to customize Rocket.Chat according to your own preferences?
See behind the engine and change the code how you see fit.
  • Open source code
  • Highly secure and scalable
  • Unmatched flexibility
Talk to sales
Looking for a secure collaboration platform?
Keep your conversations private while enjoying a seamless collaboration experience with Rocket.Chat.
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cloud or on-prem deployment
  • Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
Talk to sales
Want to build a highly secure in-app chat experience?
Use Rocket.Chat’s APIs, frameworks, and managed backend to build a secure in-app or live chat experience for your customers.
  • Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
  • Highly secure and flexible
  • On-prem or cloud deployment
Talk to sales

Our best content, once a week

Share this on:

Get your free, personalized demo now!

Build the most secure chat experience for your team or customers

Book demo