What would you think if someone said to you, “Hey, you can trust me, the CIA does!” Most of us would be, uhh, skeptical, to say the least. But in the case of cloud computing and Amazon, apparently it’s true. In an opinion piece for Computerworld, writer Stephen J. Vaughn-Nichols brought to light a news story by Frank Konkel in FCW: The Business of Federal Technology that seems to be flying under the radar of many media outlets. Konkel reported on March 18, 2013 that the CIA has contracted with e-commerce giant Amazon to the tune of up to $600 million over 10 years to help them build a cloud computing infrastructure.  

Say what? On the face of it, the CIA’s shift to cloud computing seems utterly counterintuitive to its own data security. And boy, do they need security. But ... Amazon, really? The more cynical among us would warn the CIA and other big data proponents who dare to dream that Amazon began by selling books online. However, we can also trace the trajectory of Amazon’s growth to its current position as the premier online retailer throughout the world. Topping that feat in the past few years, Amazon has rolled out a pretty impressive — and arguably unmatched — cloud infrastructure. According to Vaughn-Nichols, “One reason the CIA started moving to cloud-based computing in 2009 was that it saw the cloud as being more secure than conventional IT systems. Back then, Jill Tummler Singer, who was the CIA’s deputy CIO at the time, said, ‘By keeping the cloud inside your firewalls, you can focus your strongest intrusion-detection and -prevention sensors on your perimeter, thus gaining significant advantage over the most common attack vector — the Internet.’”

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