Amazon Web Services' GovCloud puts federal data behind remote lock and key

Uncle Sam's been making his way into the cloud, spurred on in part by the inherent billion dollar cost efficiencies, and Amazon's looking to help with the move. The Seattle-based company recently announced the launch of its new AWS GovCloud, a federal government-only region that offers a remote server solution for organizations bound by high-level data constraints. The service makes use of FISMA, FIPS 140-2 compliant end points, SAS-70, ISO 27001, and PCI DSS Level 1 security controls, providing a secure host environment that adheres to stringent "regulatory and compliance requirements," and restricts physical access to the US-only. NASA's JPL and the US Recovery and Accountability Transparency Board are just two of the 100-plus government agencies already employing AWS' remote servers, with more destined to join Washington's velvet-roped cloud. Jump past the break for Amazon's official PR spiel.

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August 16, 2011 04:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Amazon Web Services Announces AWS GovCloud, a New AWS Region for the United States Government

Government agencies and organizations can now leverage a U.S.-only AWS Region to comply with the unique regulatory requirements of the federal government such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amazon Web Services LLC (AWS), an company (NASDAQ:AMZN), 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. 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, 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. 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. To get started using AWS GovCloud, visit

"Just as we are early explorers of outer space, JPL have been early explorers of the cloud computing space. We've leveraged AWS in our missions for a few years now and were the first to use cloud computing for daily operations," said Tomas Soderstrom, Chief Technology Officer, in the Office of the CIO at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "By working with cloud computing providers such as AWS, we gain the flexibility to move quickly, acquire IT resources on-demand and save money by paying only for the resources we use. This implements the JPL CIO, Jim Rinaldi's, vision of provisioning instead of procuring hardware. As we move more workloads into the cloud, we look forward to leveraging ITAR compliant clouds, such as the new AWS GovCloud for our compliance-dependent projects so we can continue to look to the cloud first for even more missions."

"In March of 2010, the U.S. Recovery and Accountability Transparency Board became the first government-wide agency to migrate to a cloud-based technology infrastructure when it moved to AWS. 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."

To learn more about how U.S. government agencies are leveraging Amazon Web Services, visit