AWS Introduces Government Competency To Partner Program

As government agencies rapidly gain confidence in the public cloud, Amazon Web Services introduced a certification Monday to help solution providers demonstrate their bona fides to that burgeoning and highly regulated market.

Eighteen consulting partners with proven expertise delivering cloud-based IT solutions to the public sector have already earned the cloud leader's new AWS Government Competency.

An additional group of seven technology partners have also been certified to build software on the AWS platform meeting the strict requirements for handling government workloads, according to the AWS blog.

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"AWS Government Competency Partners have deep experience working with government customers to deliver mission-critical workloads and applications on AWS," reads the AWS blog. "Customers working with AWS Government Competency Partners will have access to innovative, cloud-based solutions that comply with the highest AWS standards."

David Tierno, vice president of global alliances at Unisys, which is based in Blue Bell, Pa., said being among the inaugural partners receiving the new competency is testament to the global IT consultancy's strong focus on the public sector, where it works with not only the federal government, but state, local and international agencies as well.

Much of Unisys' experience with AWS has been serving such public sector accounts, Tierno said, and the new certification will help the company establish its domain expertise and prove the merit of its solutions to customers in an increasingly crowded market.

"In a competitive sense, it helps us differentiate from other partners who don't have that level and depth of experience," Tierno said.

The latest addition to Amazon's channel program comes as customers are increasingly interested in identifying partners with specific skills and professional experience to handle their deployment, management and integration projects.

AWS recently added a migration competency for partners that have developed that horizontally integrated skill set. But expansion of the partner program will also focus on verticals, such as the government credential, he said.

"They are looking to build out new competencies in new areas," Tierno said of Amazon. "Given the sheer number of partners they have, they are looking for new ways their partners can further differentiate their capabilities."

Governments, while still concerned with issues like security and data residency, are increasingly comfortable storing their data in the public cloud, Tierno said. Unisys is seeing public sector workloads become more pervasive in its practice.

The company is bundling with Amazon services its Stealth security product, which allows customers to make their networks invisible to the rest of the world.

AWS hasn't yet defined any rigid criteria to qualify for the Government Competency, Tierno said. The certification currently is based more on a general assessment of regulatory credentials, skills and project experience.

"In talking to folks at AWS, they're continuing to evolve the competencies and put a bit more structural capabilities in place," Tierno told CRN.

AWS also rolled out a new program, the AWS GovCloud Skill Program, for U.S. partners working with its special region dedicated for government workloads. The program is intended to help customers identify partners "with experience in architecting, operating and managing workloads in GovCloud," according to the blog, as well as technology partners with software available on GovCloud.