Amazon Boosts Web Services Security for Government Agencies

Amazon is stepping up the security and access features of its cloud services in an effort to attract more government agencies as customers.

On Tuesday, Amazon announced the Amazon Web Services GovCloud, a service that complies with the International Traffic in Arms Regulation. ITAR regulates how government agencies manage and store sensitive data, including defense data.

Any cloud service used by organizations that are covered by ITAR can only be accessible by U.S. citizens. Because the AWS GovCloud is only accessible by U.S. citizens and complies with ITAR's other requirements, government agencies can use the service to store and manage additional kinds of data, AWS said.

Amazon's cloud services already meet other important government regulations, such as the Federal Information Security Management Act and the Federal Information Processing Standard, so government agencies have been using the services.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and the U.S. Recovery and Accountability Transparency Board are two federal agencies that already use AWS.

The cost to use GovCloud is higher than the rate for comparable AWS services aimed at non-government customers.

Amazon has largely stayed out of the battle between Microsoft and Google for government cloud services. Those companies are in heated competition to offer hosted e-mail and other enterprise services to government agencies. Amazon is best known for offering computing and storage cloud services.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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