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Google to Launch Government Cloud Service Within the Year

Following in the footsteps of other major cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, the tech giant Google is planning to launch a cloud service specifically for government sometime in the fall.

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In order to meet special standards of security and compliance to do business with government, some tech companies have had to build separate cloud environments specifically for that purpose — Microsoft Azure Government and AWS GovCloud, for example. Sometimes these come with distinct product lines, supply chains, data centers and functions, limiting who can access the cloud, but also what services and software are available to customers. Hoping to bridge the gap between what government and commercial clouds can do, Google Cloud this week announced it’s developing its own government cloud service, with a focus on compatibility between the two.

According to Google Cloud’s blog, the Assured Workloads for Government service is being privately beta tested now and is planned for general release at an unspecified date this fall. The basic pitch is that the service will help governments move their workloads to the cloud in a way that meets compliance requirements without sacrificing functionality. Google’s website says the company will provide a baseline of personnel access controls, and then ask government cloud customers to choose their own compliance settings in three categories — data location, personnel access and key management — after which Google will put the necessary controls in place.

A July 14 blog post co-authored by two of Google Cloud’s product managers, Christopher Johnson and Bhavna Batra, said Assured Workloads for Government would automatically enforce data location and personnel access controls in any of the company’s U.S. cloud regions.

“Assured Workloads for Government helps government customers, suppliers and contractors meet the high security and compliance standards set forth by the Department of Defense (i.e., IL4), the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS), and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), while still having access to all the latest features in our portfolio,” the blog said.

Further detailing the cloud service’s features, Johnson and Batra wrote that Assured Workloads will allow government agencies to limit access by predefined attributes such as citizenship, geographical location or background checks. It will also allow customers to choose which Google Cloud regions get access to specific resources in the cloud.

Andrew Westrope is managing editor of the Center for Digital Education. Before that, he was a staff writer for Government Technology, and previously was a reporter and editor at community newspapers. He has a bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and lives in Northern California.