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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Contemplating AWS GovCloud: Multi-tenant public Cloud for Federal, State and Local Government Agencies

If your organization is a Federal, State or Local Government Agency contemplating the  modernization of your existing IT infrastructure by adopting the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing model, you do need to be aware of the GSA-approved list of FedRAMP Compliant Cloud Service Proivders (CSPs).  For those of us in the private sector, "FedRAMP" stands for "Federak Risk and Authorization Management Program," and provides a government-wide standardized framework for security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.

Amazon Web Services is a FedRAMP compliant CSP that offers AWS GovCloud (US), an isolated AWS Region designed to enable US government agencies to move their computing infrastructures into the cloud by strictly adhering to U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and FedRAMP compliance requirements.  Amazon Web Services' YouTube Channel has a comprehensive introductory webinar on GovCloud:

Fig Leaf Software's AWS Team has been working with and assisting a number of federal agencies in deriving the blueprints for cloud-based infrastructure solutions specifically in AWS GovCloud (US).  More and more federal agencies in the area have started embracing this concept of running data centers in the cloud, with an increasingly higher comfort level compared to a couple of years ago, when AWS GovCloud (US) was first introduced.

In general, evaluating or acquiring AWS GovCloud (US) for an application or an IT infrastructure involves the following procedures and services:

  • Government agencies or Federal Contractors representing the government agencies can request immediate access to AWS GovCloud FedRAMP package by submitting a FedRAMP Package Access Request Form.
  • AWS GovCloud (US) can power your agency's Enterprise Applications, Web Applications, Content Management Systems (CMS), Relational Databases (RDS), and other High-Performance Computing (HPC) resources, Storage and Disaster Recovery services as needed.
  • AWS Direct Connect allows your agency to establish a dedicated network connection for private connectivity between your on-premise data center to AWS GovCloud (US) region, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2) delivers pay-as-you-go scalable compute capacity in the cloud, making web-scale computing easier for developers.
  • AWS will conduct screening of customers prior to granting access to the AWS GovCloud (US) Region for confirmed U.S. Residence (a "U.S. Person") as foreign entities outside of the United States cannot be allowed in this region to comply with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  

We do understand that moving your infrastructure into the cloud and adapting to this new concept of operating a remote data center that you cannot physically oversee is a daunting idea to get fully acquainted with, especially if your agency has a massive inertia when it comes to change.  However, the benefits of maintaining a data center in the cloud with high availability and a flexible configuration that allows your agency to add or remove computing resources as needed in minutes, far outweigh the alternatives associated with maintaining an on-premise data center.

Let's get practical and contemplate:  Is it time to embrace a new paradigm of Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud computing solutions?

Please contact Fig Leaf Software (sales@figleaf.com) if you need specialized consulting services for your cloud computing needs.

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