AWS Public Sector Partners Forum: 7 Top Announcements

‘We are growing fast,’ says Sandy Carter, Amazon Web Services’ vice president of global public sector partners and programs. ‘There’s a lot of energy and a lot of momentum around the public sector partner community for AWS.’

The rollout of the new AWS ProServe Ready program and AWS IoT Rapid Adoption Assistance Initiative were among the top announcements at Amazon Web Services’ sold-out Public Sector Partners Forum yesterday in Washington, D.C.

A new cybersecurity compliance offering from stackArmor, Telos and Splunk, along with Electronic Caregiver’s new platform to deliver “value-based” healthcare also had the spotlight at the event, held in advance of the AWS Summit Washington D.C., that runs today and Wednesday. Smartronix’s next-generation MSP services also were previewed.

“All of these show the strength of what we’re doing and the excitement that we have around public sector partners,” Sandy Carter (pictured), AWS’ vice president of global public sector partners and programs, told CRN. “We are growing fast. There’s a lot of energy and a lot of momentum around the public sector partner community for AWS.”

After growing by 45 percent from January 2020 to January 2021, the AWS Public Sector Partner program now includes more than 2,100 partners. Its members migrated 371 petabytes of data in the first half of this year.

The AWS Government Competency, which validates that AWS partners understand the needs of government customers, now is the largest industry-focused AWS competency program globally, with more than 100 partners earning the designation. Chicago technology consultancy Thoughtworks and New York’s Sprinklr, which offers a unified customer experience management platform for enterprises, both earned the competency to help AWS eclipse the 100-partner milestone.

“This is a rigorous technical validation really related to both the industry-specific subject matter expertise they have as well as technology,” Carter said. “The fact that government is the number one competency among all of our AWS partners just goes to show the impact of COVID and the fast growth that we’re now seeing in public sector.”

Here’s a look at the news coming out of the AWS Public Sector Partners Forum, where Carter also announced that video conferencing provider Zoom Video Communications now will offer Zoom and Zoom for Government through the AWS Marketplace.

AWS Proserve Ready

AWS is rolling out the new AWS ProServe Ready program in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa after completing a successful pilot in June. The program trains and matches AWS Partners to AWS Professional Services (ProServe) subcontract engagements.

The new offering emerged from Carter’s session with partners at last year’s AWS re:Invent conference. Partners told her they needed an easier way to work with AWS ProServe.

“What (AWS ProServe Ready) does is essentially what our partners asked us for: help them work seamlessly with ProServe on these engagements and making it easier for the end customers to benefit from the strength of that network,” Carter said. “It provides access to the partners earlier in the sales cycle. This program really helps our partners grow their business while partnering and working with ProServe for that direct experience and knowledge transfer. ProServe stays engaged.”

Partners undergo training as part of the program and earn a ProServe Ready badge.

“Right now, the program is invite-only, and we’re prioritizing the specialized experience, so that we can ensure the right set of partners are leveraging ProServe Ready,” Carter said. “Some of the specialized areas that we’re looking at are things like Amazon Connect or things like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).”

AWS ProServe is not required to bring in partners on all deals, and no incentives are offered to do so, according to Carter.

“We get sold out a lot,” she said. “Let’s say that we have a bunch of contracts on (Amazon) Connect, and we don’t have enough people in Amazon to fulfill them all, because we’re sold out of the skillset. We’ll bring partners in to help us in those areas.”

IoT Rapid Adoption

AWS is launching the AWS IoT Rapid Adoption Assistance Initiative for partners that provide IoT-based solutions to public sector customers.

AWS IoT subject matter experts will help partners create proven solutions to IoT problems -- assisting technology partners with platform-as-a-service offerings and consulting partners with rolling out IoT-based solutions on behalf of public sector organizations.

AWS points to a MarketsandMarkets forecast that puts the global IoT market at $561 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 26.9 percent.

“We have seen the growth of IoT during COVID,” Carter said. “There’s so many more sensors now that are out there, whether they’re monitoring the weather, monitoring a tire on an airplane or a jet engine...even in healthcare. And those sensors are bringing out a lot more data that is real-time. We help you with technical assistance and understanding how the sensors work, how to secure the sensors. We help with the data that’s coming in, to what would be the right way to get that into a data lake.”

AWS also will provide promotional credits, so partners can deliver IoT solutions faster.

Customers can use AWS IoT to securely connect and manage billions of devices, gather device data and perform sophisticated analytics to solve business and mission-critical problems, Wilfred Justin, AWS’ head of technical enablement for the public sector, said in a blog post today.

“IoT can also help with smart solutions for different domains such as smart cities, smart industry, smart agriculture, smart factories, and smart energy,” Justin said. “Additionally, IoT in the defense industry -- also known as the Internet of Military Things (IoMT) or Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT) -- uses artificial intelligence, analytics, data storage and security services to deliver on missions.”

The AWS IoT Rapid Adoption Assistance Initiative builds upon the success of the AWS AI and ML Rapid Adoption Assistance Initiative launched in 2020 for public sector partners. The AWS Public Sector IoT Partner team will offer technical expertise and hands-on guidance to partners in three phases focused on envisioning, enablement and building solutions.


AWS Advanced Consulting Partner stackArmour and AWS technology partners Splunk and Telos collaborated under the AWS Authority to Operate (ATO) Program on the new FASTTR (Faster ATO with Splunk, Telos and ThreatAlert for Regulated Markets) cybersecurity initiative.

FASTTR is designed to help independent software providers and regulated defense contractors comply with state and local government security regulations, including FedRAMP, the Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA), Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and soon, StateRAMP. It reduces the time and cost of ATO projects by ensuring that data stays within an accreditation boundary, according to the companies.

FASTTR combines three cybersecurity solutions. It enhances stackArmor’s ThreatAlert with Telos’ Xacta solution for security compliance documentation and Splunk for security information and event management.

The Tysons, Va.-based stackArmor’s ThreatAlert ATO Accelerator provides a dedicated AWS Landing Zone with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-compliant security services and a complete ATO documentation package generated using Telos’ Xacta, a cyber risk management and compliance automation solution with AWS control inheritance and Open Security Controls Assessment Language (OSCAL) data exchange capabilities. ThreatAlert also integrates Splunk’s security information and event management capabilities to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of sensitive data and meet continuous monitoring and auditability requirements.

The three-partner initiative will help customers meet compliance frameworks with new cybersecurity requirements that include threat hunting, enhanced logging, controls automation and inheritance, and streamline the governance process with machine-readable artifacts using the NIST OSCAL, according to the companies.

“Reducing the time and cost of FedRAMP, FISMA and CMMC ATOs is a strategic requirement for enterprises in highly regulated markets such as government, public sector, defense, space and healthcare amongst others, especially given the sharp rise in cybersecurity threats,” stackArmor founder and CEO Gaurav “GP” Pal said in a statement. “The FASTTR initiative provides a proven end-to-end solution that makes it easy for enterprises to obtain and manage ATOs.”

VMware Cloud On AWS

VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud (United States) has earned FedRAMP ATO at the High Impact level.

VMware Cloud on AWS is an on-demand, hybrid cloud service that enables enterprises to run applications across VMware vSphere-based cloud environments with broad access to AWS services. It’s powered by VMware Cloud Foundation and integrates vSphere, VMware vSAN, NSX and vCenter management. It’s optimized to run on dedicated, elastic, bare-metal AWS infrastructure. VMware and AWS jointly engineer and sell the service.

The authorization allows U.S. public sector agencies to migrate and more quickly modernize their VMware vSphere workloads with VMware Cloud and AWS GovCloud (US). The U.S. Marshals Service, which served as the FedRAMP ATO sponsor, is among federal agencies using VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud for its multi-cloud strategy.

“Our SIs that are selling into DOD (U.S. Department of Defense) can now offer VMware Cloud,” Carter said. “ISVs who are doing backup and recovery can now count on (AWS) GovCloud and FedRAMP in their areas, and distributors and resellers -- which VMware Cloud on AWS uses a lot of -- have a new market segment open to them that previously wasn’t available without this FedRAMP High authorization.”

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware leveraged the Authority to Operate (ATO) on AWS Program to achieve the FedRAMP authorization.

“For our partners overall, getting those authority to operate (designations) -- whether it’s in healthcare, financial services, energy; something that a government has, like IRAP or PROTECTED B or even FedRAMP here in the U.S. -- is hard, and it’s costly,” Carter said. “Our ATO program is really built to ensure that we help accelerate time to market and reduce the cost.”

AWS connected VMware with AWS Advanced Consulting Partner Coalfire, a Westminster, Colo.-based cybersecurity company and ATO on AWS partner, to help it through the process.

“They were able to support them with the audit, and our own ATO program provided solution architects to automate and engineer some of the workloads,” Carter said.”

The ATO on AWS Program ranked as the number one public sector partner program in AWS’ survey of public sector partners in late 2020.

Electronic Caregiver

Electronic Caregiver (ECG), a digital health technology and services company, has announced the general availability of ADDI 2.0, a new platform to deliver “value-based” care.

The platform provides clinical providers and public health workers real-time information to proactively manage patient care, enhance treatment adherence and improve outcomes. Those resources include seamless vitals monitoring, threshold alerts, care plan management and electronic health record integrations,

ADDI 2.0 offers “10x reliability improvements and 100x scalability through automation, responsiveness and flexibility to meet the surging demand for telehealth, remote patient monitoring and hospital-at-home models of care,” according to the Las Cruces, N.M.-based company.

ECG is an AWS Technology Partner participating in AWS’ ISV Partner Path program launched in January.

AWS completed a well-architected review with ECG to help build the scalable, platform-as-a-service offering on the AWS cloud. ADDI 2.0 uses a serverless architecture and incorporates 24 AWS services, including AWS Lambda, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, AWS Key Management Service and AWS Lambda.

“To have the world’s foremost authority on best practices in the industry review, approve and validate what we are taking to market with our modernization of ADDI is significant,” Dr. David Kelley, ECG’s chief technology officer, said in a statement. “This means that ECG has enhanced automation and improved privacy and security to provide features and functionality that our customers have been demanding.

ADDI 2.0 is HIPAA-, GDPR- and FHIR-compliant.

“Now we’ve got opportunities for solution providers to leverage this solution,” Carter said. “System integrators who focus on healthcare can now expand and use this metaverse, one of the newest trends that are out there today in healthcare. ISVs now also have the opportunity to integrate with some of these APIs.”

Healthcare has become one of the AWS Public Sector Partner Program’s fastest-growing areas. AWS’ two ATO programs that help partners earn HIPAA and HITRUST compliance/certification for their healthcare solutions grew 85 percent since last year, according to Carter.

ECG also built Addison, a patient-facing virtual caregiver application, on top of ADDI 2.0. Addison incorporates the Amazon Polly text-to-voice service, computer vision, AI/ML and data analytics. Its capabilities will include daily living assessments, 24/7 gait analysis to help prevent falls, medication management, wellness checks via care plans, vitals monitoring, reminders and alerts for professional and family caregivers. Addison is being beta-tested in patients’ homes, with limited availability to be announced in the fourth quarter.

Smartronix’s Next-Gen MSP Services

AWS Premier Consulting Partner Smartronix has partnered with Amazon Managed Services (AMS) to offer next-generation managed service provider services.

A Hollywood, Md.-based solutions provider, Smartronix specializes in next-generation cloud, C5ISR national security work, and advanced engineering and IT solutions. The public sector -- particularly national security-related work -- accounts for the majority of its business.

The company’s Cloud Assured Managed Services (CAMS) platform, which is accredited for FedRAMP Moderate and is DOD SRG IL4/5-compliant, is now fully integrated with AMS Accelerate to provide full-stack management to customers in the public sector and regulated industries.

Smartronix will be the first public sector partner to leverage AMS Accelerate, which is the AMS operations plan that helps operate day-to-day infrastructure management including monitoring, incident management and security.

AWS Migration Competency And APN Navigate Growth

The number of public sector partners who have earned the AWS Migration Competency has doubled since re:Invent in December, reaching 200 partners. It’s the hardest AWS competency to obtain, according to Carter.

“Customers migrate to the cloud to, on average, save 31 percent of their cost or get 43 percent fewer security incidences,” she said. “We have a lot of demand that we we’re not able to sell.”

AWS’ APN Navigate Program expanded in June to provide dedicated “Public Sector Foundations” tracks to help new and existing AWS partners build successful public sector practices.

“It’s really a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know to get started with the public sector,” Carter said. “Since June, we’ve got 125 partners that are now using and leveraging it.”