CIA CIO: Amazon Web Services is key to developing secure apps

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Two of the U.S. government’s top chief information officers are finding broad security value from an expansion of their cloud services sold by the private sector.

The CIA’s capability to quickly develop, test and share secure code has been driven forward in recent years by the adoption of scalable cloud infrastructure, CIA Chief Information Officer John Edwards said Tuesday during a panel discussion at FedTalks 2016.

Looming budget constraints and the need to deploy scalable software resources in the face of quickly evolving cyberattacks has now become “mission essential,” said Homeland Security Department chief information officer Luke McCormack.

“We are building in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost with cloud computing,” he added. 

DHS, McCormack explained, will look to “aggressively” continue its development and adoption of a hybrid cloud environment in the coming year —fusing native systems with commercial, FedRAMP certified cloud solutions.

In time, the migration to cloud storage is expected to decrease DHS’s reliance on in-house data centers. This shift is also augmented by a growth in effective security technology layered over those same vendor-built cloud systems, said Edwards, who specifically referenced Amazon Web Services’ increased ability to meet the agency’s high bar for defenses.

Given the inevitable, upcoming presidential transition, however, Congressman Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said he worries that progress made on larger government IT modernization efforts will stall out.  The IT Modernization Fund — which passed the House last month and is now headed to the Senate for a vote during Congress’ lame duck session — is among a laundry list of bills floating between the lower and upper chambers but whose passage remains unknown.

“Moving forward, much of what we’re facing is a management challenge,” Connolly said.

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Amazon Web Services (AWS), CIA, cloud security, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal IT, FedTalks