Amazon launches a cloud service for USA intelligence agencies

Andrew Cummings
November 21, 2017

According to Amazon, the Secret Region will also be available to non-Intelligence Community entities within the US government.

The region can operate workloads up to the Secret US security classification level, the cloud giant said, and will serve 17 organisations including the CIA, the NSA and Homeland Security, which form the US Intelligence Community (IC).

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched a cloud services region aimed specifically at US government bodies who want to run classified workloads on its infrastructure, and which it says is authorised to handle material up to the "Secret" US security classification level.

"The U.S. Intelligence Community can now execute their missions with a common set of tools, a constant flow of the latest technology, and the flexibility to rapidly scale with the mission", said Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Amazon Web Services Worldwide Public Sector.

This new cloud region is likely to complement AWS's existing contract with the CIA and other agencies worth $600 million.

With the AWS Secret Region, as it is called, Amazon becomes the first commercial cloud provider that can handle all the U.S. government's data classifications - Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret.

The computing giant Microsoft made a similar announcement in October when it said its government cloud program, called "Azure Government Secret" would support USA government agencies working with data classified as "secret". The major difference between this new region is the fact that the air-gapped Top Secret Cloud is available for all government agencies.

This region is distinct from the conventional cloud platform, which processes workloads of CIA and other agencies as well as Amazon GovCloud.

The Secret Region meets multiple compliance requirements, including National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-53 Revision 4, which outlines security and privacy controls for federal information systems and organizations.

Of course, Amazon wouldn't get any customers for the AWS Secret Region is it wasn't guaranteed to be secure.

"The AWS Secret Region is a key component of the Intel Community's multi-fabric cloud strategy", he said in a statement.

Customers both inside and outside the US Intelligence Community can use the region, as long as they have the proper security clearance.

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