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Amazon wins key cloud security clearance from government

A zoomed image of a computer screen showing the Amazon logo is seen in Vienna November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A zoomed image of a computer screen showing the Amazon logo is seen in Vienna November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc has been given a security clearance by the U.S. government that will make it easier for federal agencies to use its cloud computing services.

Amazon Web Services, known as AWS, was certified to operate as a cloud service provider for three years under the government's new FedRAMP program. The accreditation covers all AWS data centers in the United States, the company said on Tuesday.

"This will cut the cost and time for agencies to deploy our systems," said Teresa Carlson, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector at AWS. "It cuts costs for AWS too."

Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, has moved aggressively into the business of renting remote computing, storage and other IT services in recent years through AWS.

The business has been a hit with startups, but the company is now going after big corporations and government agencies, a much larger opportunity. However, these organizations are more demanding, especially on issues like security and regulatory compliance.

Last year, the U.S. government launched FedRAMP to standardize and streamline security assessments of cloud services. Before this program, if a vendor wanted to sell IT services to a government agency it had to obtain authorization for each separate project, slowing down the process and making it more expensive.

Under FedRAMP, AWS will be able to get approved for a government agency once and then its services can be used many times on multiple projects by that agency.

AWS said it received its three-year clearance through the Department of Health and Human Services. The certification covers this agency and all its operational divisions which include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.

(Reporting by Alistair Barr; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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