The Washington Post

Amazon offers cloud services to the government

Amazon launched GovCloud, a part of its cloud Web services aimed solely at the government

The service is designed with protecting government information in mind, and is only accessible by “U.S. persons,” the company said in a press release. All the physical infrastructure for the cloud region is located on U.S. soil.

A “U.S. person” is defined as U.S. citizen or permanent resident holding a green card, said Amazon spokeswoman Tera Randall.

NASA is one government agency already using Amazon’s cloud services for daily operations at its Jet Propulsion Lab. Late last month, the General Services Administration became the first of 15 planned agencies to move at least part of its e-mail systems into a cloud-based system when it switched over to using Google Apps for Government.

While switching to cloud computing comes with cost and other benefits, there are some questions about stability. Another part of Amazon Web Services suffered an outage in the U.S. just last week that caused downtime on popular sites such as Netflix, Foursquare and Reddit. AWS suffered a more serious outage in April, which resulted in a small amount of permanent data loss.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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