AWS stores USA spy agency data in Secret Region

Amazon launches a cloud service for US intelligence agencies

AWS opens cloud for classified data

To operate a platform guarding the nation's secret data, Amazon must comply with security standards monitored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Known as the "AWS Secret Region" it will allow the 17 intelligence agencies to host, analyze and run applications on government data classified at the secret level.

The Top Secret Region was launched three years ago on dedicated infrastructure that's air-gapped from Amazon's other offerings.

'AWS now provides the U.S. Intelligence Community a commercial cloud capability across all classification levels: Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret.

The service will be provided to the intelligence community through an existing $600 million contract with USA intelligence agencies. According to Amazon, the Secret Region will also be available to non-Intelligence Community entities within the USA government.

Amazon said the Secret Region is to be assessed and accredited for that objective under the appropriate government directives, but didn't specify when it expects the process to be completed.

Whether AWS Secret Region can help Amazon's competitive advantages will be based to a large extent on whether it is hacked. The databases contained at least 1.8 billion internet posts collected over eight years by intelligence agencies from news sites, comment sections, web forums and social media.

Speaking at the AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington, DC in June, Edwards said the AWS deal was the "best decision we ever made". The AWS Secret Region also will be available to non-IC U.S. Government customers with appropriate Secret-level network access and their own contract vehicles for use of the AWS Secret Region. That was a seminal deal that signaled AWS's ability to provide enterprise- and government-grade cloud services.

With the launch of the AWS Secret Region, "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", said Teresa Carlson, AWS' vice president for worldwide public sector. "The AWS Secret Region is a key component of the Intel Community's multi-fabric cloud strategy", he said in a statement.

This latest announcement from AWS is an outgrowth of a $600 million contract that Amazon signed with the US government back in 2013. That offering hasn't yet gone live.

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