Microsoft releases government cloud editions of Microsoft 365 and Azure Stack

The products contain additional safeguards and protocols to meet compliance needs of the US government.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Microsoft 365 for US Government Cloud, which mirrors functions in the NIST cybersecurity framework, is now generally available.
  • Azure Stack on Azure Government, a hybrid cloud solution geared toward public sector workloads, is also now generally available.

On Monday, at the Government Tech Summit in Washington, DC, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft 365 for US Government Cloud and Azure Stack on Azure Government, along with other updates to its public sector offerings.

The Microsoft 365 solution aims to meet the compliance and security standards of the US government, while also modernizing the experience, according to a press release announcing the changes. The special bundle includes Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), and Windows 10 for US Government organizations.

For the cloud-based Microsoft 365, Microsoft is also proposing security as a value add. Since Microsoft can typically push updates faster than government organizations, the cloud can provide faster ROI and better protected data, another press release said.

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"That's especially critical for budget-constrained government agencies that need to direct funds to help citizens—not patch security holes in an aging, on-premises infrastructure," the release said.

Microsoft 365 for US Government Cloud is for taking care of controlled unclassified information, the release said. Microsoft also offers Government Community Cloud (GCC) for civilian government agencies, GCC High for government customers in highly sensitive situations, and DoD Cloud for Department of Defense.

At the summit, Microsoft also announced that its hybrid solution, Azure Stack, would soon be coming to Azure Government as well.

"Azure Stack will integrate with Azure Government, enabling consistent connections to Azure Government across identity, subscription, billing, backup and disaster recovery, and the Azure Marketplace," a press release said. "Azure Stack will also enable government customers to seamlessly use and move amongst public, government-only, and on-premises cloud environments to rapidly respond to geopolitical developments and cybersecurity threats."

Azure Government Secret, which is dedicated to information that is classified as "Secret," will be expanding into two new regions as part of the announcement. This brings the total number of data center regions for Azure Government Secret to eight.

In Q4, the firm is also planning to launch Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Government Community Cloud (GCC) High, to support Department of Defense and contractor requirements with unclassified and ITAR data, the release said.

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Image: iStockphoto/Willard

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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