Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) have both announced that their cloud services have been certified by the government on a security basis.
The two companies made their announcements within minutes of each other. The federal certification means that the government believes that cloud services from the two companies are secure enough to warrant government use especially for financial data, sensitive patent records, and controlled information among others. Classified information will most likely not be involved. The certification allows Amazon’s AWS GovCloud, CSRA’s ARC-P IaaS and Microsoft’s Azure GovCloud, to provide their services to government entities. This is as per the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) which outlines cloud security standards.
FedRAMP has around 400 security controls to be met before it can allow federal agencies to employ AWS especially when personal and highly sensitive information is involved. The program reported that the US government spends roughly $40 billion from its IT budget to cater to its high baseline systems. The post from the FedRAMP stated that the security requirements set in place are protective measures for the government’s unclassified and sensitive data.
It is unclear if Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton violated any or all of these rigorous security measures and when she chose to use her own personal server for sensitive government communications without the knowledge of the State Department.
Microsoft also holds a high FedRAMP accreditation for 13 cloud services such as Web Apps, Express Route, and Azure Key Vault among others. Microsoft officials had earlier revealed that the firm has included premium storage support as well as the introduction of pre-configured virtual machine images. Some examples of the latter include Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 Update 2 with Azure SDK 2.9 for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host with Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus.
The Azure Government Cloud from Microsoft became available to government customers in the US in 2014. It was designed for government agencies and their solution providers. Azure also received authorization to handle Level 4 DoD data.