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The Importance of GovCloud, On-Prem Hosting, and SCIFs in GovCon Security Compliance

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Kris Sæther



5 min

In the world of U.S. aerospace and defense contracting, data security is paramount. Not only must government contractors adhere to strict compliance requirements and ensure the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information, they must also balance these protections with secure availability and access.

This balance is particularly important when deploying third-party software solutions. 

In this article, we will delve into the significance of three key options for achieving GovCon security compliance – GovCloud, on-prem hosting, and SCIFs – and how each ensures the highest level of government contracting security.

GovCon defined:

GovCon, or government contracting, refers to the process of companies doing business with the federal government as subcontractors or prime contractors. It involves bidding on and fulfilling contracts for the provision of goods and services to federal agencies. GovCon companies may work on a wide range of projects, from defense and security to infrastructure and technology.

The Role of GovCloud

What is GovCloud Hosting?

GovCloud is a specialized cloud infrastructure designed to meet the stringent compliance requirements set by the U.S. Government. It provides a secure environment for processing, storing, and transmitting sensitive data, ensuring that government contractors can operate within a highly regulated framework.

The Advantages of GovCloud in GovCon Security Compliance

GovCloud offers several advantages over commercial cloud solutions when it comes to government contracting:

  • Compliance: GovCloud is built from the ground up to conform to the security standards and regulations mandated by the U.S. Government. This ensures that government contractors can meet the necessary compliance requirements effortlessly.
  • Enhanced Security: GovCloud incorporates robust security measures, including encryption, access controls, and continuous monitoring, to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access or breaches.
  • Geographic Restrictions: GovCloud is limited to specific geographic regions, ensuring that sensitive data remains within the confines of the U.S. This helps maintain data sovereignty and prevents potential risks associated with data storage in foreign jurisdictions.

Personnel: GovCloud regions are operated by employees who are U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

The Role of On-Prem Hosting

What is On-Prem?

On-premises, or on-prem, hosting refers to the practice of hosting software and data within the physical premises of an organization. Unlike cloud-based solutions, which rely on remote servers and infrastructure, on-prem hosting allows organizations to maintain complete control over their data and infrastructure using their security protocols.

The Benefits of On-Prem Hosting in GovCon Security Compliance

On-prem hosting offers several benefits for government contractors seeking to ensure compliance and security:

  • Data Control: With on-prem hosting, government contractors have full control over their data. They can implement customized security measures and access controls tailored to their specific requirements, ensuring the highest level of data protection.
  • Compliance Flexibility: On-prem hosting allows government contractors to adhere to specific compliance requirements mandated by government agencies. This flexibility is crucial in ensuring that contractors meet the necessary security standards while operating within the constraints of their contracts.
Reduced Dependency on Third Parties: By hosting their applications and data on-premises (in their own physical data centers, using their own personnel and hardware), government contractors can minimize their reliance on external service providers, reducing the potential risks associated with third-party dependencies.

The Role of SCIFs

What is SCIF?

A SCIF, an acronym for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, is an enclosed area within a building that is used to process sensitive compartmented information (SCI) types of classified information.

SCIFs are designed to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information and provide a controlled environment for handling classified materials.

The Importance of SCIFs in GovCon Security Compliance

SCIFs play a crucial role in ensuring the security and confidentiality of classified information in government contracting. Here are some key reasons why SCIFs are essential:

  • Physical Security: SCIFs are equipped with stringent physical security measures, such as access controls, secure entry points, and surveillance systems. These measures prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to classified information.
  • Information Protection: SCIFs provide a controlled environment where classified information can be processed, stored, and discussed without the risk of compromise. This ensures that sensitive data remains protected from unauthorized disclosure.
Risk Mitigation: By confining the handling of classified information to designated SCIFs, government contractors can mitigate the risk of data breaches and unauthorized disclosures. This helps maintain the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information.

The Power of Combined Security Measures

While most government contractors choose one secure deployment option over another, there are a number of reasons why they might need more than one secure deployment option. For example, different government agencies may require different security requirements. 

When working with the Department of Defense, a contractor may have to adhere to more stringent security requirements than the Department of Veterans Affairs. A government contractor would need to be able to deploy software in a way that meets the specific security requirements of the agency they are working with.

By combining security measures, government contractors can create a holistic and robust security ecosystem that addresses various aspects of compliance and protection. For example, a hybrid deployment; a combination of on-prem and GovCloud environments allows contractors to leverage the cloud while setting up permanent or temporary SCIFs.


Businesses that work with the government must meet a wide range of strict requirements in order to win and keep government contracts. The complexity of laws and regulations that accompany government contracts can be daunting, but with the right secure deployment options, it doesn’t have to be.

Xait understands the complexities of aerospace and defense contracting and data security, and offers all three options, as well as hybrid, to ensure our customer partners operate and win with the highest level of security. 


Related Article: Proposal Writing for Government Evaluation Criteria

Read More: The High Cost of Reformatting Government Proposals


Author picture

Kris Sæther

Kris Sæther is Chief Commercial Officer of Xait. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Media Studies, and has worked in financial communication in London and Frankfurt prior to joining Xait. He has 20+ years experience from the information management industry. Kris is an avid runner and skier, and a passionate fan of the world’s coolest soccer team, Tottenham. If he is not working or running you will find him cheering for his two daughters on the handball court.

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