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Amazon Announces Cloud-Based Services for Government Agencies

Catering to the specific regulatory and compliance requirements of government systems, Amazon announced yesterday its AWS (Amazon Web Services ) GovCloud, which will offer U.S. federal departments a secure cloud solution.

Previously government agencies with sensitive data had been forced to avoid cloud-based systems due to the fact that it could be accessed anywhere globally -- which made it impossible to maintain strict and mandatory privacy regulations associated with a government network. Amazon's AWS GovCloud bypasses this barrier by limiting the reach and access of it.

"Because AWS GovCloud is physically and logically accessible by U.S. persons only, government agencies can now manage more heavily regulated data in AWS while remaining compliant with strict federal requirements," Amazon wrote in a release.

This limited access will allow agencies who choose to use Amazon's service to take advantage of existing security controls found in AWS regions such as FISMA, FIPS 140-2 compliant end points, ISO 27001,  SAS-70, PCI DDS Level 1 and ISO 27001, while staying in line with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)  laws.

Amazon had previously tested its new government cloud service on a smaller scale, with U.S. Recovery and Accountability Transparency Board moving to a similar cloud infrastructure in March 2010.

"In one budget cycle alone, the Recovery and Accountability board was able to save $750,000 by leveraging AWS," said Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Global Public Sector, Amazon Web Services. "Today, over 100 government agencies are taking advantage of AWS and we're excited to continue working with agencies as they implement the Federal Cloud First policy to become more efficient, agile, and innovative through more effective use of technology infrastructure. AWS GovCloud is the next step in that evolution."

As with all of Amazon's Web Services, agencies wanting to join GovCloud will be able to pick and choose what resources it wants to use, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, with the agencies only paying for what they use.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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