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Amazon Rolls Out Government-Only Cloud Services

Amazon Web Services announced on Tuesday its new GovCloud service, which is geared solely at U.S. federal departments seeking a secure cloud solution that meets specific regulatory and compliance requirements.

According to Amazon, prior to GovCloud, government agencies with sensitive data avoided cloud-based systems because the ability to access such systems anywhere globally made it impossible satisfy the strict and mandatory privacy regulations that government systems are required to meet. GovCloud solves this problem by having limited reach and access.

"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 the 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, AWS' vice president of global public sector. "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."

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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