Amazon’s Web services branch announced GovCloud today, a custom platform that will allow U.S. government agencies and contractors to work with and store data securely online.
In order to get the U.S. government’s business, Amazon Web Services (AWS) had to be in compliance with various regulations including the United States’ International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which regulate how sensitive data is handled. These regulations prohibit certain agencies from storing defense-related data anywhere accessible by non-U.S. citizens. GovCloud meets these requirements by being physically accessible only to “U.S. persons” (a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a green card).
“All AWS Regions, including AWS GovCloud, offer the same high level of security,” said Tera Randall of Amazon Web Services in an email. “The only difference is that AWS has added a layer of permissions to the AWS GovCloud Region that restricts access to U.S. Persons.”
Over 100 government agencies are already using AWS tools, including NASA and the Recovery and Accountability Transparency Board. GovCloud users will have access to the following six services to start, with more coming in the future: Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, Simple Storage Service, Elastic Block Store, Virtual Private Cloud, Identity and Access Management, and CloudWatch. Amazon’s rates for GovCloud appear to be higher than for other AWS clients, but they will all be available on an on-demand basis.
Amazon began offering its Web services in 2006.