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Amazon Web Services Launches "AWS GovCloud"

Amazon Web Services today announced “AWS GovCloud”, a new AWS Region designed specifically to help U.S. government agencies and contractors move IT applications and systems into the cloud by addressing specific regulatory and compliance requirements.

GovCLoud from Amazon Web ServicesGovernment agencies with data subject to Compliance regulations such as the International Trade and Arms Regulation (ITAR), which governs how organizations manage and store defense-related data, are limited in options 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, government agencies can now manage more heavily regulated data in AWS while remaining compliant with strict federal requirements.

Related Column: IT Outlook: Not Yet Cloudy for CIOs

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, SAS-70, ISO 27001, and PCI DSS Level 1. AWS also provides an environment that enables agencies to comply with HIPAA regulations.

AWS resources deployed from AWS GovCloud such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) are available on-demand and agencies pay only for what they use, allowing the U.S. government to benefit from the flexibility, scalability and low pay-as-you-go pricing of AWS.

AWS said that it will screen customers prior to providing access to the AWS GovCloud, helping to ensure customers are “U.S. Persons”, not subject to export restrictions. Customers must also comply with U.S. export control laws and regulations, including the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

AWS GovCloud can be used to power a wide variety of IT applications, with most popular use cases including:

Enterprise Applications – With many Oracle, SAP and Microsoft Windows applications reliability it critical, and to ensure reliability enterprises provision for peak demand and for disaster recovery, which creates management complexity and idle resources. With AWS, enterprises can lower their costs and improve reliability by utilizing fault-tolerant availability zones and paying only for the resources they use.

High-Performance Computing (HPC) and Analytics - Many agencies and organizations are amassing large data sets that they could process to gain critical insights; however, they are confined by the fixed resources which require them to wait for these insights. With Amazon Web Services, agencies can spin up massive on-demand clusters of compute resources in minutes and quickly gain the information they need to effectively meet mission.

Storage and Disaster Recovery - As the volume of data continues to grow, organizations are struggling to add the capacity needed to meet their primary storage and backup requirements. With AWS, organizations can quickly access to the scalable, durable, available, and US-persons only controlled storage that can meet their data security requirements and scale with the needs of their organization.

Web Applications - Web applications have unique scalability complexity since application demand is often difficult to predict. With AWS, customers can combine reserved resources for predictable workloads with on-demand resources for unexpected spikes, ensuring low costs and great application performance even during intense demand peaks. Due to the elasticity of AWS services, agencies can remove resources when the demand subsides, ensuring high asset utilization and cost-efficient web applications.

AWS is working with a wide range of system Integrators (SI) and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who have the capability to support “US Persons Only” requirement and ITAR applications. Current partners include Deloitte, Oracle, Adobe, Red Hat, CACI, ESRI, URS, GTSI, Smartronix, Appian, Accelera Solutions, Aquilent, BlueRiver IT, Intelligent Decisions, Leverage IS, and Optimos.

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.