AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

The Evolution of Cloud: Enabling Good Government

The shift in technology and move to the cloud is not like any other in our lifetime, and the speed of innovation is happening much faster than anyone anticipated. Cloud is the new normal. Every industry and all levels of government—including the U. S. federal government—are utilizing the cloud for their most complex, innovative, and mission-critical projects.

When a government agency selects a commercial cloud service provider, they are selecting a partner to provide a springboard for good government. Today, the cloud is not just providing agencies with infrastructure solutions, but is laying the groundwork so that the government can tap into true innovation. It provides a connection to some of the most innovative, cloud-focused Systems Integrators (SIs) and the most agile startups in Silicon Valley and other hubs of innovation, and access to the most cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning—all while employing best-in-class security.

We’ve seen our government customers use the cloud as a springboard to do everything from detecting cyber threats to enhancing the performance of their combat networks to analyzing and storing data for use in tactical warfare.

A Connection to Innovation

To help ensure our customers are able to maximize the advantages of the cloud, AWS has worked with partner organizations since its inception. From well-known players like Deloitte, Accenture, Booz Allen, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Leidos, to the partners who have built offerings from scratch on top of AWS like Novetta, DataBricks, ECS/InfoReliance, REAN Cloud, c3IoT, Telos, Heroku, Sonian, and Rightscale, the AWS Partner Network (APN) includes tens of thousands of partners around the world.

These partners are finding new ways to help both civilian and defense agencies at every stage of the cloud adoption journey, from migrating workloads to building entirely new applications.

For example, when the U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) sought a solution to comb through reams of cyber data to detect, assess, and mitigate cybersecurity threats, the agency turned to APN partner Enlighten IT Consulting (EITC). The company developed a Big Data Platform (BDP) for ARCYBER that is scalable and capable of ingesting, storing, and visualizing multiple petabytes of security data. As a result, the Army was able to process over 500 terabytes of data, and saw a 500 percent increase in the number of countermeasures developed and deployed on its network. By utilizing an AWS partner, the U.S. Army is not only getting the best solution for their data combing needs, but they also have access to a team that is continuously refreshing back-end technology, so government developers are always working with the latest BDP release, and spending their valuable time on mission-critical work.

In another case, APN Partner Raven Solutions led the transition to the cloud for the Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Fleet and Family Readiness (N9) program to deliver N9 information and services to regionally constituent sailors and families. Prior to the CNIC N9 GovCloud, N9 information was distributed via a large number of disjointed, informal, and regionally-managed websites and WordPress blogs. These sites, often hosted in foreign nations and managed by installation-level IT staff, were the target of cyber attacks. By deploying CNIC N9 GovCloud on AWS GovCloud (US), the U.S. Navy was able to significantly reduce overall costs, decrease investment in hardware, increase security by reducing network attack surface, and centralize information and data governance.

From startups to SIs, agencies get access to the best and most innovative companies through the APN.

Driving the Future of Government

Another shift we’ve seen from our government customers is the desire to leverage the most cutting-edge technology—in the same way that our commercial enterprise customers do. There is a growing interest in government to leverage AI and machine learning capabilities, which require the support of a hyperscale cloud. With hyperscale cloud supporting the federal government, agencies can deploy solutions today with the confidence that their resources will scale with the increasing demands of their missions tomorrow.

Former Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said recently that AI and machine learning are essential to strengthening and increasing the operational tempo of DoD battle networks. But as Work said as reported by National Defense Magazine, all of that data needs to be “triaged, annotated, and stored somewhere for discoverability and learning. The way we will provide that data to them and provide access to that data is through the cloud.” AWS understands this need goes all the way to the tactical edge, so with AWS Snowball and AWS Snowball Edge, data can be securely accessed and used even in the most austere and harshest environments.

A Full Complement of Classification Levels

With the launch of the AWS Secret Region in November, AWS became the only cloud service provider that offers solutions at every data classification level – including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret – and the only hyperscale cloud provider with authorizations at all FISMA levels and DoD Impact Levels. The AWS Secret Region is available to the DoD, the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), and other federal customers with appropriate Secret-level network access. The DoD can buy AWS cloud services through contract vehicles, including the Army Cloud Computing Enterprise Transformation (ACCENT) Blanket Purchase Agreement, which is now available DoD-wide.

Agencies across government can have the confidence to use the cloud for mission-critical workloads and have the ability to scale quickly with each new mission, no matter the data classification.

The Federal Government’s Evolving Digital Transformation

Federal agencies are already on a path to digital transformation that will reshape how the government does business and serves citizens. AWS and our partners are ready to help.

Check back soon for more examples of how the evolution of cloud technology is helping to modernize IT in support of good government.