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AWS’ Brett McMillen on Federal Cloud Adoption During Pandemic

Brett McMillen Director of US Federal AWS
Brett McMillen, Director of US Federal, AWS

Brett McMillen, director of U.S. federal at Amazon Web Services, told FedScoop in an interview published Monday how federal agencies like the Small Business Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau responded to the COVID-19 pandemic using cloud.

McMillen said AWS helped SBA come up with a portal to facilitate the distribution of loans worth approximately $349 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act.

He discussed how the Census Bureau adopted cloud and modern technology platforms to speed up its census operations during the pandemic.

“Because they were in the cloud, by far the majority of the nation was able to respond over the internet. And then, when things opened back up, they were able to quickly and easily scale up and scale down,“ McMillen said of the bureau. “The other thing that they were able to do, that was really hard to do in previous ways, is (focus differently) on disaster recovery. … By moving this into a cloud environment, they were able to fairly quickly and easily do that“¦and have it super secure.“

McMillen noted that agencies were able to mobilize quickly during the health crisis because of their adoption of modern technologies and implementation of fundamental measures, including establishing an acquisition vehicle to facilitate their move to the cloud.

“They also had set up standard operating procedures. So if you“™re going to deploy in the cloud, here“™s how you do it securely. And what some other agencies had done was set up an ATO “” authority to operate “” that any organization within the agency can leverage,“ he added.

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