cloud-based security (Omelchenko/

AWS buys security firm with NSA roots

Amazon Web Services has acquired a security software firm with close ties to the National Security Agency.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Sqrrl Data announced its acquisition by AWS in a note posted on its website this week.

Sqrrl was spun out of NSA's Accumulo program, a label-based storage software that could be enable secure, granular access to data in large storage systems. Accumulo has since been open sourced under the Apache Foundation. In 2012, several of the project's original contributors from the NSA founded Sqrrl, whose flagship "Threat Hunting Platform" is built on the original Accumulo technology.

Sqrrl's offering "unites link analysis, machine learning algorithms, and multi-petabyte scalability capabilities into an integrated solution," according to the company.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, though industry watchers have estimated it to be worth over $40 million.

With its NSA ties, Sqrrl gives AWS a boost as it ramps up its government-centric cloud offerings. AWS plans to open its second GovCloud region sometime this year, locating it in the East Coast. AWS also opened a "Secret Region" in November for members of the U.S. intelligence community and their partners elsewhere in the government.

The acquisition of Sqrrl's machine learning-enabled security technology also provides a potential complement to GuardDuty, AWS' own cloud security monitoring solution that leverages machine learning. AWS took the wraps off GuardDuty at the 2017 re:Invent conference this past November.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the site editor for


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