"Today we mark an important milestone as we launch the AWS [Amazon Web Services] Secret Region," Theresa Carlson, vice president of AWS worldwide public sector, said Monday, according to NextGov.
"The AWS Secret Region is a key component of the intel community's multi-fabric cloud strategy," CIA Chief Information Officer John Edwards said in a statement, noting "it will have the same material impact on the IC [intelligence community] as the Secret level than [the CIA's C2S, or Commercial Cloud Services] has had at Top Secret."
The AWS Secret Region is basically its own corner of the internet, cut off from the rest of the web. In addition to providing basic server needs such as hosting, storage, analyzing and application integration, the region will feature a closed-off marketplace for agencies like the CIA to test, download and buy new software products from vendors in Silicon Valley and beyond, NextGov said.
AWS promises to improve how agencies like the CIA share information with other intelligence partners as well as non-intelligence government agencies. "They have an ability to bring new tools into the environment that were very difficult to adopt previously," Gartner research Vice President Katell Thielemann says, "things like geospatial tools, advanced analytics and data dissemination."
Moving to the cloud is how the CIA sees itself as running more like a business. "We want to be like commercial companies, not the government. [Cloud] is the most innovative thing we've done, and it's having a material impact on the CIA and the IC," Edwards said in June, adding that reaching a deal with Amazon for AWS was the "best decision we ever made."
If it weren't for AWS, Amazon would probably not be profitable. AWS was the only business segment in the company to improve operating profit in the third quarter of 2017. While the company's operating income fell 40 percent on a year-over-year basis to $347 million in Q3 as ecommerce lines suffered, the company's bottom line was buoyed by $1 billion in operating profits from the AWS line. In each quarter of 2017, AWS revenues have jumped at least 40 percent.