Security risks have long been the scapegoat for why government agencies aren’t moving quickly to the cloud. However, that excuse lost much of its traction in 2014 when the CIA went live with its own cloud. This transference to cloud, especially in an agency as notorious for cybersecurity as the CIA, set precedence for other Intelligence Community (IC) agencies to move to the cloud. In short, if cloud is secure enough for the CIA, it’s probably secure enough for others in the IC.
Powered by Amazon Web Services, the Intelligence Community Cloud (C2S Cloud) provides a way for all 17 intelligence agencies to move off “heritage” systems and data centers to take advantage of the cost and computing efficiencies of cloud solutions. The C2S cloud is really a public cloud computing environment built on private premises, but with rigid security standards that govern, yet don’t prohibit, the sharing of classified information between approved parties. AWS’s C2S Cloud provides the Intelligence Community with on-demand computing, analytic, storage, collaboration, and other add-on services. Since its launch in 2014, many IC agencies have followed the CIA’s lead and have been migrating applications into the cloud environment. And, as many reported at the Amazon Web Services conference, users and CIOs are happy with the results.
According to Jason Hess, Cloud Security Manager for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, C2S cloud has led to more “consistent security across the board.” By operating a single system that can host all of NGA’s applications, data, and more, the agency has been able to reduce complexity while realizing cost savings from having to maintain fewer server rooms. Innovation and cost savings aren’t stopping there; in late June, the CIA enhanced C2S cloud by opening their own cloud marketplace – the AWS Marketplace for the U.S. Intelligence Community.
AWS Marketplace for the IC provides a way for intelligence agencies to purchase software infrastructure, developer tools, and applications from authorized vendors. The marketplace allows for open and transparent license terms and conditions, and a variety of pricing models, including hourly usage and annual subscription. It also supports Bring-Your-Own-License (BYOL) so that agencies can more easily migrate existing software licenses and applications.
Among the first few vendors to be listed in the AWS Marketplace for the IC is our partner, piXlogic. piXlogic’s piXserve software is an enterprise-class solution that automatically indexes images and videos, making their content readily searchable by users. piXserve recognizes faces, objects, scenes, and text in a range of languages and character sets. In a world increasingly powered by sorting through a deluge of video surveillance data to help catch the bad guys in the field, piXserve is an important tool for security analysts in IC agencies.