Amazon Web Services Announces 'Secret Region' for U.S. Intelligence Work
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Amazon's consumer-facing website wants to sell all products to all people, while Amazon Web Services (AWS) wants to host all data for all services, and that includes the U.S. Intelligence Community. That's why this week Amazon announced a new region has been added to AWS called simply AWS Secret Region.
It is aimed squarely at the intelligence community and the U.S. government in particular. It will be made available through Intelligence Community Commercial Cloud Service (C2S) contracts and is capable of handling workloads up to Secret U.S. security classification using an air-gapped region of Amazon's cloud. Amazon already offers a Top Secret area of AWS for the U.S. government, named (in case you hadn't guessed already) AWS Top Secret Region.
By using AWS Secret Region, the government gains access to the huge processing and data storage capabilities available through AWS while maintaining tight control over access. And as the U.S. government regularly contracts out work, trusted contractors can be granted temporary access to areas of the Secret Region as and when required and wherever they are in the world.
Amazon is keen to point out the variety of access AWS now offers, with Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Amazon Web Services Worldwide Public Sector commenting, "AWS now provides the U.S. Intelligence Community a commercial cloud capability across all classification levels: Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret and Top Secret. The U.S. Intelligence Community can now execute their missions with a common set of tools, a constant flow of the latest technology and the flexibility to rapidly scale with the mission."
Of course, Amazon wouldn't get any customers for the AWS Secret Region if it wasn't guaranteed to be secure. With that in mind, the Secret Region "will be assessed and accredited for security compliance under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Intelligence Community Directive (ICD 503) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-53 Revision 4."
Anyone working in the intelligence community who is already using the AWS Top Secret Region will feel right at home in the Secret Region. Amazon is offering the exact same set of tools and workflows across both.