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DOD IL4: Protecting Critical Government Data From Compromise

The U.S. military creates, stores, and operationalizes massive amounts of sensitive data. Protecting that data is a strategic priority and is the focus of the Department of Defense Impact Levels framework. This framework is used to categorize information systems and data and to indicate the security requirements that data is subject to. Department of Defense Impact Level 4 (DoD IL4) is the second sequential level in the DoD Impact Level hierarchy.

As the Department of Defense becomes increasingly data-centric, guidelines around sensitive information help the agency effectively manage, secure, and deploy data for maximum operational impact. In this article, we’ll explore DoD Impact Levels, focusing specifically on IL4. We’ll also examine how the Department of Defense requirements relate to FedRAMP certification.

What Is DoD IL4?

Before we explore DOD IL4 itself, let’s zoom out to see the broader framework that it’s part of. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), a combat support agency that provides IT and communications support to the U.S. military, developed the Impact Levels system as a way of identifying various information’s sensitivity, who should have access to it, and what controls should be in place to protect it. 

The four DoD Impact Levels: IL2, IL4, IL5, and IL6

DISA’s Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (CC SRG) outlines the security model the DoD follows when accessing cloud computing services and the prerequisite certifications for commercial cloud service providers. This document defines the DoD Impact Levels, specific security guidelines for each, and the requirements that must be followed to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information. There are four Impact Levels: IL2, IL4, IL5, and IL6; each level requires progressively robust standards based on the sensitivity of the information and the potential impact of that data being compromised. 

Types of information included in DoD IL4 

DoD IL4 contains five primary types of information: Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Personal Health Information (PHI), Non-Critical Mission Information, and Non-National Security Systems (NSS). Specific examples of IL4 data may include information on critical infrastructure, intelligence and law enforcement activities, nuclear energy, military budgeting, and personal information from individual military members such as health and personnel-related matters.

Although it does not contain classified data or data associated with national security, DoD IL4 requires a comprehensive set of security controls to protect information that, if compromised, could cause damage. Required safeguards include access controls, identification and authentication, encryption, auditing, and monitoring. Additionally, DoD IL4 requires more rigorous physical and environmental security measures, as well as more extensive personnel security measures. 

How Is DOD IL4 Different from FedRamp?

Although the DoD Information Impact Levels system and Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) are different programs, they are closely related. FedRAMP is a standardized framework that provides security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services throughout the federal government. 

Although the security controls required by each are similar, compliance with one does not necessarily guarantee compliance with the other. The DoD has built its CC SRG on the foundation of FedRAMP, but it includes additional criteria that address specific defense and intelligence requirements around cloud offerings. DISA controls the DoD accreditation and authorization process for CSPs.

Snowflake Is DoD IL4 Compliant

Protecting the security of mission-critical data helps the DoD and other federal agencies fulfill security mandates. Here are three ways Snowflake is helping the public sector and government agencies do more with their data while complying with the regulations and requirements surrounding it.

Government data security compliance

Snowflake’s government deployments have achieved FedRAMP Moderate Authorization, and with support for ITAR compliance, SOC 2 Type 2, PCI DSS compliance, and support for HITRUST compliance, Snowflake provides the strong security required by federal agencies.

Robust data security safeguards

Snowflake helps federal agencies secure their most sensitive data. The Data Cloud contains numerous features, including dynamic data masking and end-to-end encryption for data in transit and at rest. In addition, all ingested data stored in Snowflake tables are encrypted using FIPS 140-2 Validated HSMs with AES-256 strong encryption. All files are stored in internal stages for data loading and unloading automatically encrypted using this same process.

Resilient and secure data infrastructure

Designed for the cloud, Snowflake uses the most advanced cloud security technologies available. The result is a service that provides the security and resilience required to handle the most demanding data workloads. With the exceptional performance, flexibility, and scalability needed to load, integrate, analyze, and share data securely, Snowflake’s fully managed service is easy to use, yet powerful enough to run your essential workloads with near-unlimited concurrency.

Snowflake is helping the public sector transform its data warehousing, data lakes, and data application development infrastructure, as well as build data exchanges for easily and securely sharing governed data. With Snowflake, government agencies can focus on using their data to power critical decision-making with comprehensive views of intra- and cross-organizational data.