Cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) today announced AWS GovCloud, a new AWS Region designed to allow U.S. government agencies and contractors to move more sensitive workloads into the cloud by addressing their specific regulatory and compliance requirements.
Amazon's move reflects the ongoing adoption of public cloud services by government entities, including the U.S. Treasury's Recovery Accountability and Transparency board, which hosts Recovery.gov and Treasury.gov on AWS, as well as NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which processes telemetry data and high-resolution images on an array of EC2 cluster compute instances.
The announcement also addresses key compliance regulation issues related to the storage of sensitive data:
Previously, government agencies with data subject to compliance regulations such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which governs how organizations manage and store defense-related data, were unable to process and store data in the cloud that the federal government mandated be accessible only by U.S. persons.
Because AWS GovCloud is physically and logically accessible by U.S. persons only (the actual instances reside within an AWS virtual private cloud), government agencies can now manage more heavily regulated data in AWS while remaining compliant with strict federal requirements.
The new Region offers the same high level of security as other AWS Regions, and supports existing AWS security controls and certifications such as FISMA, FIPS 140-2 compliant end points, SAS-70, ISO 27001, and PCI DSS Level 1. AWS also provides an environment that enables agencies to comply with HIPAA regulations.
Beyond the offering itself, what AWS is proving is that even the most sensitive data and workloads no longer have to be kept behind the firewall or in private data centers.
And, perhaps more interesting than the offering, is seeing AWS leave every other provider in the dust not just in terms of technical innovation but also in the business of cloud services. Who would have guessed that a bookstore would pave the way for how we use computing resources.