Amazon Offers ‘Secret’ Level Cloud Services for Gov
Amazon announced the release of new capabilities for its AWS cloud computing services, tailored for use by U.S. government customers able to handle Secret-level classified information. The release of AWS Secret Region will allow government AWS customers to process Secret information on a dedicated AWS region, making Amazon “the first and only commercial cloud provider” to provide separate cloud services appropriate for use “across the full range of data classifications, including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret,” according to the company.
AWS Secret Region is described by Amazon and industry commentators as a direct follow-up to the company’s earlier offering AWS Top Secret Region, an air-gapped cloud infrastructure designed for Amazon’s $600 million contact with the CIA and other elements of the US intelligence community to handle the nation’s most highly classified data.
Amazon stated that while its Top Secret cloud products will remain solely available to agencies in the Intelligence Community Commercial Cloud Services contract (who will receive access to AWS Secret Region automatically), AWS Secret Region services will also be available for new contracts to other government customers outside of the purview of the intelligence community:
The AWS Secret Region is readily available to the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) through the IC’s Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) contract with AWS. 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. These contract vehicles will not be part of the IC’s C2S contract.
Amazon’s milestones with AWS Top Secret Region and AWS Secret Region are no small feat for the company, representing not only highly lucrative deals for the company but also milestones in data security given the federal government’s stringent security requirements and compliance guidelines. AWS competitor Microsoft recently announced a similar suite of cloud services under the (equally uninspired) name Azure Government Secret, but has yet to obtain Top Secret certification for its cloud services.