Today, Amazon announced a new offering named "AWS Secret Region," which is a cloud server region for use only by US intelligence agencies and their third-party contractors.
"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. By using the cloud, the U.S. Government is better able to deliver necessary information and data to mission stakeholders," said Amazon in a press release.
This new AWS Secret Region did not come out of the blue. Amazon, together with various other cloud providers, have operated various private cloud computing infrastructures for the secretive US intelligence community for years.
The new AWS Secret Region is an evolution from previous closed-circuit cloud server infrastructures. Above all, it's a commercial offering, opened to contractors, which in recent years have become the primary workhorses behind most government intelligence work.
The launch of the new Secret Region will allow third-parties to rent pre-approved cloud servers and build applications for processing confidential intelligence data, reducing much of the previous legal and paperwork overhead.
Besides AWS Secret Region, Amazon also operates Amazon GovCloud, a cloud service for working with US government data. The difference between GovCloud and Secret Region is that the latter can handle data with a higher level of confidentiality.
Just like GovCloud, AWS Secret Region is operated by employees who are US citizens on US soil and is only accessible to vetted US government customers and their partners, who must also be vetted US citizens.
Amazon's announcement comes a month after Microsoft announced "Azure Government Secret," a similar offering for the storage and manipulation of classified data.