The Department of Defense and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) are developing a proof of concept Authentication Gateway Service with Google to tackle one of the primary hurdles to adopting commercial cloud computing – the need to reliably authenticate users.

According to a report from InformationWeek, the purpose of the pilot is to find reliable alternatives for authenticating users and ultimately eliminating the less-secure password-based  login.

During the first phase of the pilot, 50 DISA employees with use Google Apps for Government to process non-sensitive, unclassified data. Simultaneously, the DISA field security office is conducting a security evaluation of the apps to determine if the service can support additional users, as well as sensitive (still unclassified) data.

Another goal of the program is to provide for a portion of DOD email user communities to work with lowest cost, technically acceptable service providers, whose security is assured and commensurate with various missions, InformationWeek reports.