Aimed at improving intelligence gathering and ensuring a more friction-free transmission of vital information, the recent launch of Amazon Web Services (AWS) new Secret Region for the handling of classified government data is seen enhancing the United States’ security.
All 17 federal agencies in the Intelligence Community (IC) can now work together on the cloud computing service offered by AWS up to the Secret level. Given the proper security clearances, US agencies that are not members of the IC can also work on this security classification level.
AWS now hosts four levels of US security classifications on the cloud: Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret.
Sara Friedman of GCN explains:
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. “Ultimately, this capability allows more agency collaboration, helps get critical information to decision makers faster, and enables an increase in our nation’s Security.”
“The AWS Secret Region is a key component of the Intel Community’s multi-fabric cloud strategy. It will have the same material impact on the IC at the Secret level that C2S has had at Top Secret,” John Edwards, CIO of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), said.”
“AWS’s announcement comes about a month after Microsoft made a similar announcement. With Azure Government Secret, Microsoft’s Government Cloud will also soon support workloads for agencies and their partners who are working with data that is classified as “secret.”
It’s worth noting that the original and air-gapped Top Secret cloud, which AWS operates for the intelligence community, was limited to intelligence agencies. This new Secret Region is available to all government agencies and stands separate from the earlier work AWS did with the CIA and others, as well as the existing Amazon GovCloud.
“While Google has long offered its G Suite to government customers, the company’s effort to bring on more enterprise users hasn’t quite extended to government agencies and their cloud computing needs. Chances are, though, that Google, too, is working on getting the necessary certifications to handle more classified government data on its servers.”