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Dutch banks get nod to inhale Amazon cloud

All of a country's fortune floating in the aether – what could possibly go wrong?

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Dutch regulators have cleared Amazon's cloud for consumption by financial institutions within the country, validating the Amazon Web Services infrastructure for use even in tightly regulated industries.

Though many technologists are skeptical of the use of cloud computing within industries such as the finance sector, especially given the monumental screw-ups that can happen if critical tech is administered at distance, that hasn't prevented Dutch financial regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) from giving financial institutions the go-ahead to use Bezos's big yellow cloud, Amazon announced on Monday.

"The announcement covers the use of AWS in all facets of Dutch financial operations, such as websites, mobile applications, retail banking platforms, high performance computing and credit risk analysis solutions," the company wrote.

"Additionally, the storage and management of all levels of data on the AWS Cloud, as well as the use of technology that runs on top of AWS and is provided by third party vendors, are also included."

Amazon's main European data centers are located in Ireland, along with edge locations across Europe including two in the Netherlands.

The Dutch nod comes after Amazon pursued and gained the "FedRAMP" security certification in the US, which shortens the process for US federal agencies seeking to base themselves in its cloud. Also figuring into the decision was Amazon opening its "GovCloud" dedicated data center for institutions that require International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) compliance by their IT operator.

Validation of the AWS cloud by DNB comes after revelations that a number of high profile US technology companies have been in cahoots with the NSA over mass data slurping operations. Amazon has not been named by mega-leaker Edward Snowden as being one of those companies, but its US provenance does make European companies storing data in it vulnerable to US government interference via requests made by the contentious Patriot Act legislation.

But with DNB validation, financial services companies based in the Netherlands can use Amazon and still be compliant with financial regulation. However, because cloud computing is considered by the DNB to be a form of outsourcing, companies must give the DNB the "right to audit" their cloud data, according to DNB documents.

The DNB was not available to provide further information on the announcement. ®

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