Amazon Web Services (AWS) power many popular and essential cloud-based internet tools, ranging from entertainment and social networking sites like Netflix and Instagram to scientific endeavors like the 1,000 Genomes Project. Now, it sounds like Amazon might be building a custom version of its cloud infrastructure for perhaps the company's most sensitive and secretive client — the CIA. According to FCW, a site specializing in "the business of federal technology," Amazon recently won a cloud computing contract with the government agency worth up to $600 million over a 10-year period.
It's not entirely clear what the CIA will do with its new cloud, but FCW says it'll provide a better way for the agency to keep up with emerging technologies and so-called "big data" in a more cost-effective way than its old system. It also seems likely that the cloud would serve as a more private and secure version of typical public cloud-computing environments. The cloud would be hosted within the more secure firewalls of the CIA, supposedly keeping the agency's classified data safe from prying eyes.
While neither the CIA nor Amazon were willing to comment on the rumor, Amazon already offers up its services to the government, and there's some evidence that the CIA is looking to leverage innovations coming from the commercial sector to make its processes more cost-efficient. While there's no hard evidence yet for this deal, some members of the government find it probably — Dave Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Accountability Office, said that while he wasn't familiar with the deal, he would "expect" that the CIA "would be looking more and more of doing something along those lines."