AWS launches a new secret cloud region for U.S. intelligence services

Amazon gets cozier with US spy agencies

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has unveiled its new cloud platform, specifically designed for US-based governmental intelligence agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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). This cloud service handles the workload for government agencies and their partners that work on classified data. The Secret Region is being made available to the U.S. Intelligence Community by way of the existing Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) contract with AWS.

Anyone working in the intelligence community who is already using the AWS Top Secret Region will feel right at home in the Secret Region.

The launch of the new Secret Region will allow third-parties to rent pre-approved cloud servers and build applications for processing confidential intelligence data, reducing much of the previous legal and paperwork overhead.

Amazon's consumer-facing website wants to sell all products to all people, while Amazon Web Services (AWS) wants to host all data for all services, and that includes the US Intelligence Community.

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'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'. The AWS Secret Region also will be available to non-IC U.S. Government customers with appropriate Secret-level network access and their own contract vehicles for use of the AWS Secret Region.

The "region" in the name of the new service is Amazon's term for a data centre and will be just one among many regions operated by the company as part of its AWS supercomputing cloud.

The CIA's chief information officer John Edwards added his two cents to the new offering as well, stating "The AWS Secret Region is a key component of the Intel Community's multi-fabric cloud strategy".

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.

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