Amazon launches a cloud service for US intelligence agencies

Key Points
  • The introduction of the AWS Secret Region for the U.S. intelligence community comes six years after Amazon announced a cloud data center region for public-sector customers.
  • U.S. government agencies with sufficient secret-level access and contracts will also be able to use the new region.
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services and Infrastructure.
Source: Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services on Monday introduced cloud service for the CIA and other members of the U.S. intelligence community.

The launch of the so-called AWS Secret Region comes six years after AWS introduced GovCloud, its first data-center region for public-sector customers. AWS has since announced plans to expand GovCloud. The new Secret Region signals interest in using AWS from specific parts of the U.S. government.

In 2013 news outlets reported on a $600 million contract between AWS and the CIA. That event singlehandedly helped Amazon in its effort to sign up large companies to use its cloud, whose core services have been available since 2006. Today AWS counts companies such as Comcast, Hess, Intuit and Lionsgate as customers. AWS' competitors include Microsoft, Google, IBM and Oracle.

"With the launch of this new Secret Region, AWS becomes the first and only commercial cloud provider to offer regions to serve government workloads across the full range of data classifications, including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret," Amazon said in a blog post.

The new region is available to customers as a result of AWS' contract with the intelligence community's Commercial Cloud Services, or C2S, group, and it will meet certain government standards, Amazon said. But the region will also be accessible for U.S. government organizations that aren't part of the intelligence community so long as they have their own "contract vehicles" and sufficient secret-level network access, Amazon said.

AWS rounds out the blog post with a quote from the CIA's chief information officer, John Edwards:

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.