What is AWS GovCloud and how does it help Government Agencies?


What is AWS GovCloud?

Amazon’s GovCloud is a unique private cloud solution deliberately designed to host confidential data and address the strict U.S government regulatory and compliance needs. It operates under the authority of ITAR, the U.S International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

With this isolated cloud service, users can run regulated workloads consisting of government-oriented data in the AWS GovCloud system. It offers top-notch features such as logical, administrative, and physical access to U.S citizens as well as FIPS 140-2 endpoints.

U.S citizens can also run their unclassified workloads as per their needs. AWS is able to control and manage physical and logical access to users based on the rules. However, the security of the entire data existing in the AWS cloud is a shared responsibility. The data owner is responsible for controlling access to the account data. Besides, AWS can recognize U.S accounts and dictates guidelines to help users process ITAR-regulated data across their regions.

AWS GovCloud Regions (US-East and US-West) are run by U.S. citizens that reside on U.S. land.

It is accessible only to U.S residents and other root account holders that pass the screen test. These users must just use a “U.S. person” to manage and access account keys within these regions.

AWS GovCloud Regions helps users take care of compliance regimes through every single step of their cloud journey. This includes CUI (Controlled Unclassified Information), export-controlled data, confidential patient medical records, PII (Personally Identifiable Information), law enforcement data, financial data, and other kinds of CUI.


How AWS GovCloud Helps Government Agencies?

1. Meet Compliance Standards

AWS GovCloud is a flexible solution that helps you architect secure cloud solutions and comply with various security and regulatory standards such as:

  • ITAR (U.S International Traffic In Arms Regulations)

  • EAR (Export Administration Regulations)

  • DoD (Department of Defense) Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (SRG) for Impact Levels 2,4 and 5

  • The DOJ’s Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Security Policy

  • The FedRAMP High baseline

  • DFARS

  • FIPS 140-2

  • IRS-1075 and other such compliance systems.


2. Secure Confidential Data

AWS S3 allows you to secure confidential unclassified data files with the help of server-side encryption. You can use AWS CloudHSM to store and manage security keys on your own. Or, AWS also offers AWS KMS (Key Management Service) for one-click easy management.


3. Enhanced Identity Management

Control and restrict access to confidential data through time, location, and profile configurations. You can use powerful access control testing tools such as easy key rotation and identity federation to limit users in making API calls.


4. Get deeper cloud visibility

AWS offers deeper visibility into your cloud systems through its powerful API logging service, viz. AWS CloudTrail. You can audit the use and access of confidential data with the keys provided in AWS CloudTrail. It is managed by U.S citizens.


5. Secure workloads and accounts

Amazon GuardDuty allows you to safeguard all your AWS workloads and accounts through continuous monitoring and security checks. The Amazon GuardDuty keeps track of any unauthorized or unusual behavior, such as unauthorized deployments or malicious API calls that may lead to security issues.


6. Provisioning Big data applications

AWS provides quick and easy access to low-cost IT resources, which helps you scale big data applications faster, such as clickstream analytics, event-driven ETL, data warehousing, fraud detection, IoT processing, server-less computing, and recommendation engines.

As per your requirements, you can choose the ideal size and type of resources to scale and enhance your big data applications’ performance.


7. Storage and Disaster recovery

AWS allows you to add capacity to the cloud as per your needs and access cloud storage run by U.S. persons. All of this can be done while retaining your data security needs.

With AWS, you can store, backup, and immediately recover your IT systems within seconds as it embraces the DR approaches. AWS offers top-notch services that act as a failover within seconds, from premium standby solutions to quick backups. It will automatically back up data in various geographic locations to make sure critical data is never lost.


8. Cost-effectiveness

For popular enterprise applications such as SAP, Microsoft Windows, and Oracle, reliability plays a vital role.

Often, enterprises provision applications with unnecessary resources for DR (Disaster Recovery) situations and peak demands. But, such an approach often causes resources to remain unused and idle. AWS takes reliability to a whole new level with cloud backups, and it requires you to pay for only those cloud resources you use.


9. High-Performance computing

Myriads of organizations collect massive amounts of data in order to extract valuable insights. If not handled correctly, these large data sets may lead to poor performance and monetary loss.

AWS is able to perform intelligent computing to leverage numerous on-demand clusters of resources within a moment’s notice. Besides, you will only pay for computing power used while unlocking full potential of AWS computing features.


10. No hidden costs

AWS GovCloud effectively discards the costs related to software licenses, physical servers, IT resources, and in-house servers’ electricity costs. AWS offers a flexible, cost-effective, and modern platform that demands no hardware costs or hidden maintenance fees.


Conclusion

AWS GovCloud is a power-packed, isolated private cloud solution that is available to highly regulated organizations, government agencies, and other commercial enterprises that meet the requirements of AWS GovCloud.

When hosting sensitive information, security and budget limits are two of the critical concerns of government agencies. Amazon Web Services (AWS) GovCloud is a highly secure, flexible, and scalable platform that can handle critical situations like fluctuating traffic, peak demand, disasters, malicious attacks, etc., efficiently.

AWS GovCloud helps organizations and U.S. citizens with security compliance and other segments such as higher uptime (99.95% commitment) and lower maintenance costs.

AWS is only available for users that utilize a U.S. cloud environment. If users do not want to use a U.S. cloud environment, they can choose other AWS regions, and the only thing is that it offers limited controls.

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