Amazon Macie helps businesses protect their sensitive data in the cloud

Amazon’s AWS cloud computing service hosted its annual NY Summit today and it used the event to launch a new service: Amazon Macie. The idea behind Macie is to use machine learning to help businesses protect their sensitive data in the cloud. For now, you can use Macie to protect personally identifiable information and intellectual property in the Amazon S3 storage service, with support for other AWS data stores coming later this year (likely at the re:Invent conference in November).

The company says the fully managed service uses machine learning to monitor how data is accessed and to look for any anomalies. The service then alerts users of any activity that looks suspicious so they can find the root cause of any data leaks (whether those are malicious or not). To do all of this, the service continuously monitors new data that comes into S3. It then uses machine learning to understand regular access patterns and the data in the storage bucket.

The service also automatically detects certain data types like full names, addresses, credit card numbers, IP addresses, driver license IDs (U.S. only), social security numbers and birth dates, but it also can automatically detect different content types (email, SEC forms, data logs, database backups, source code, etc.).

All of this data then flows into a central dashboard that highlights high-risk files and other information about how users and other applications are accessing data.

As with all AWS services, pricing is complicated, but mostly based on the number of events and data the service processes every month. Because a lot of costs are bound to the initial classification of the data, the first month of usage is also likely the most expensive.

For now, Macie is only available in AWS’s U.S. East (Northern Virginia) and U.S. West (Oregon) regions, though this footprint will likely expand over time.

It’s worth noting that Amazon also announced that Glue, the company’s service for preparing and loading data into its various database and storage services, is now available to all customers. In addition, the company used today’s event to launch a new migration hub¬†for enterprises that want to migrate some of their workloads to the cloud, as well as updates to the Elastic File System (now with encryption at rest), AWS Config and AWS CloudHSM for better key management.