Securing mission-critical communications with a self-hosted, air-gapped collaboration suite

Pavithra Sudhakar
February 22, 2024
min read

Defense industries deal with sensitive information that, if leaked, could compromise national security.  So, the digital battlefield holds just as much importance as its physical counterpart. Therefore, safeguarding mission communications and thwarting cyber attacks is the perpetual objective. 

One way to ensure secure mission communication is through the use of a self-hosted, air-gapped environment. This kind of environment is completely disconnected from unsecured networks; hence, enables defense personnel across varying levels of classification to communicate securely, without endangering the integrity of mission-critical data.

Rocket.Chat, Pexip, and Bluescape have joined forces to create a secure and comprehensive collaboration suite designed specifically for defense organizations. Our collective toolkit is engineered to support a range of missions across all classification levels — from secure headquarters to the farthest deployed troops  — to achieve mission success.

In a recent webinar, Thomas Mersman of Rocket.Chat, Steve Pryor of Bluescape and Peter McCarthy of Pexip discussed defense communication challenges. They shared how the strategic alliance could help defense organizations overcome communication barriers for unified defense operations.

Navigating communication barriers for secure and unified defense operations

Defense involves various geographically dispersed armed forces, agencies and international allies. For a unified defense, these entities must be interoperable. 

However, achieving this is laden with several challenges:

  • Mission data security: Mission communications need to be completely private because the stakes are so high. Data breaches compromise sensitive information, operation plans and national security.
  • Unified communication lapse: Every department or branch relies on separate communication tools for their communication needs. This creates isolated and siloed pockets of information and important details can fall through the cracks at the wrong time. Lack of a complete picture handicaps commanders from making well-informed and intelligence-led decisions.
  • Disjointed information flow: Lastly, ground forces need to operate in challenging environments. It’s difficult to get a comprehensive view of the situation, relay information in real time and establish situational awareness if they don't have access to a unified view or have access to the right personnel at the exact right time.

Unified and secure collaboration across all levels 

Rocket.Chat, Pexip, and Bluescape have joined forces to provide a secure, reliable, and unified collaboration platform that enhances operational readiness, protects mission-critical information, and establishes situational awareness to ensure mission resilience and drive success. 

Enhance operational readiness and coordination

When you have globally dispersed units, all operating using different tools and data, it is challenging to establish operational readiness and coordination amongst the units. With Bluescape, you can communicate together visually across all units. You can plan missions, discuss mission strategies, gather ideas and inputs, make decisions and solve problems. It provides a single source of truth to make informed decisions for real-time responsiveness.

Facilitate secure messaging across all classification levels 

As we all know, in the world of defense, effective communication isn’t just a necessity; it’s a matter of national security. With Rocket.Chat you can communicate with complete data privacy and security. Using interoperability features, you can securely connect with partners, other agencies and allies to exchange classified intelligence, regardless of their location or tools they use.

Provide a reliable communication in extreme environments

Ground forces may need to fulfil duties in challenging and stringent conditions. With Pexip you have the ability to enable ground forces to provide a clear picture of the battlefield, and to provide connectivity even in extreme environments.

So, it's not just about connectivity; it's about equipping the ground forces with the necessary tools to effectively relay battlefield information, provide real-time updates, and establish situational awareness. This enables commanders to make intelligence-led decisions and provide real-time responses to emerging situations. 

The end result: A secure, reliable, and unified collaboration platform

Together, we provide a shared digital workspace that centralizes chats, meetings, files, planning boards, mission data and knowledge. It is a unified view that provides a comprehensive understanding of operations by combining intelligence from different sources for a single source of truth. This allows for swift, informed decision-making which is paramount to the mission's success. 

Enabling secure intra- and inter-agency collaboration 

We also discussed how defense organizations can connect with key mission partners across geographically dispersed branches, international allies, and agencies.

Here are some benefits of having seamless communication among different entities: 

  • Secure exchange of classified intelligence across agencies, regardless of the tool they use. 
  • Convenience of cross-platform secure messaging without having to switch platforms. 
  • A single pane of glass for combined intelligence by gathering data from different sources. 
  • Safeguarding mission data with secure file sharing and customizable data loss prevention policies. 

The self-hosted, air-gapped alternative to Skype for Business

In 2021, Skype for Business was retired, and Microsoft Teams was announced as its official replacement. However, MS Teams lacks flexible hosting capabilities and mission-critical data security features.

In order to make sure your new solution doesn’t fall back, we empower you to transition to Skype for Business (SFB) at a pace that's comfortable for you. Here are 5 reasons why you should choose us:

  • Our solution is fully integrated with the tools you're already using, such as the Outlook Calendar, so you won't have to abandon any tool after the transition. 
  • We offer comprehensive communication capabilities fully integrated for a wholesome collaborative experience. 
  • We also understand the varying needs of different organizations; that’s why we have flexible deployment options - self-hosted, air-gapped, secure cloud.
  • With a single interface, you will have access to a rich functionality set including whiteboard, chat, voice & video calls.
  • And most importantly, we are engineered to meet the privacy, security and compliance needs of defense organizations.

Providing mission-ready security

Missions are dynamic. Our solution is robust and resilient enough to withstand the demands of constantly changing mission parameters while still being scalable so it can be effective for small teams or entire organizations.

Our specialty is providing defense and intelligence customers with a secure solution that they can really trust with their data. Our security architecture helps us adhere to zero-trust architecture and focus on mission-critical information security. We didn’t just stick security on as an afterthought  — it’s been integral since inception, following a secure by design approach. Simply put, we are not a purely commercial product that’s been adapted to fit the defense space. We were all about "security-first" from the get-go. .

Flexible deployment options: We offer ultimate flexibility in selecting the hosting environment best suited to your operational and security requirements.

It allows for full control over mission data with flexible deployment options which include on-premise, secure cloud, or air-gapped environments for times when operating in a 100% disconnected mode is necessary.

Secure messaging: Regardless of the deployment model, all the security policies built into the solution aim to protect mission conversations and data from unauthorized access, interception, and tampering. We enable you to have fully non-readable private conversations with end-to-end encryption (E2EE). 

Information governance: We help you restrict access to confidential data with a 180+ role based permission system, secure file sharing, and rigorous identity validation. We also enable you to keep tabs on the sensitive information shared within and beyond the workspace with detailed audit logs and stringent data loss prevention policies in place. 

Government-approved: We are a trusted partner to numerous federal agencies including the NGA, US Army, US Navy, and US Air Force. Our authority to operate within the US Department of Defence and at the Top Secret Level, along with deployment through several Impact Levels, demonstrates our ability to handle sensitive data and conduct operations at different security scales effectively. 

Regulatory compliances: Lastly, we take pride in the certifications and compliances we have earned, demonstrating our adherence to the highest standards of data protection and security. These include the internationally recognized standard for the management of information security - ISO 27001, the SOC 2 certification as well as the FedRAMP authorization which shows our capabilities to secure networks and data under federal regulations, and the coveted Iron Bank certification highlighting our compliance with the rigid security controls required by the Department of Defense. 


In the defense sector, the necessity to maintain secure, seamless communication between various geographically dispersed forces, agencies, and international allies is paramount for a unified operation. This is where the strategic alliance of Rocket.Chat, Bluescape, and Pexip proves its mettle. We are offering a secure, reliable, and unified collaboration suite that centralizes mission-critical information, enhances communication, and promotes intelligent, data-driven decision making. This framework we offer stands poised to transform the defense sector, ensuring success not just for individual missions, but for the larger defense landscape.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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Pavithra is a Product Marketing Manager at Rocket.Chat. She represents the voice of the customers and helps shape the voice of the product. She is highly passionate about bringing new offerings to the market. When she isn’t donning the hat of a Product Marketer, she tries her hand at multiple cuisines, lives a hundred different fictional characters through books, and enjoys playing badminton.
Pavithra Sudhakar
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