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AWS announces Secret cloud region for intelligence community agencies

Amazon has launched a new cloud region for intelligence agencies managing information of a secret classification

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has opened a new cloud region for agencies in the US intelligence community (IC).

The so-called Secret region will allow US intelligence agencies to run and manage applications and forms part of Amazon’s Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) agreement; a contract from 2013 which initially brought AWS to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but is now available for the rest of the IC to use.

As a result, AWS becomes the first cloud provider to offer regions for all levels of US government classification: unclassified, sensitive, secret and top secret.

Teresa Carlson, vice-president of the AWS worldwide public sector, said these regions enable better collaboration between agencies and improved security across the country.  

“The US 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. The AWS Top Secret Region was launched three years ago as the first air-gapped commercial cloud for customers across the U.S,” she said.

“Intelligence community has made it a resounding success. 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 Secret region is also available for non-IC organisations, but their data needs to be at the same classification level and cannot be on the same C2S contract.

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Amazon has also said this region has been created to comply with the IC regulations and handle critically important data.

The success of the regions shows how AWS is proving to be a valuable asset for high-level organisations in the US.

This is also the case in the UK, after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced it has moved some of its Universal Credit system to Amazon’s platform. Furthermore, HM Revenue and Customs moved from startup cloud provider Datacentred to AWS.

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