Microsoft Azure has launched a “Government Cloud” aimed at government officials and partners as customers. The classified cloud offering comes after Microsoft won the 10-year Joint Enterprises Defense Infrastructure contract with the Department of Defense. With the JEDI contract still in court, Microsoft’s new offering — Azure Government Top Secret — will provide government agencies with secure services. In September, the Department of Defense reiterated that Microsoft is their choice for the $10 billion contract. However, just this month the department highlighted the commercial parity requirement. Considering this, Microsoft has announced the Azure Government cloud.
The JEDI contract is the same controversial deal that was supposed to be given to Amazon Web Services but was signed over to Microsoft. As a response to this, AWS filed a suit against the contract. AWS claimed Donald Trump’s interference in the contract was responsible for it being handed over to Microsoft. Following which, Microsoft requested AWS to “stand down on its litigation” against the contract citing availability of immediate and top of the line tools for the US Government.
Although the top-secret cloud service is limited to the government, all organizations requiring cloud with top-secret classified data can opt for it. The Azure Government services are available to all branches of the US Government, including federal, state, local, tribal, and other US screened citizens. Multiple certifications are also offered to simplify critical government requirements in the cloud infrastructure.
The Azure Government Secret cloud has been authorized by Department of Defense at Level 6 and Intelligence Community Directive 503 to ensure its credibility for usage by law enforcement along with other agencies. The service also comes with Azure Container Instances and Azure Kubernetes Service, which helps government officials manage applications. The offering also has Azure Sentinel and Azure Security Center to deliver security and threat management using data collected by these services.
Microsoft also announced its own line of Azure hardware like Azure Modular Datacenter, Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack Edge Pro, and Azure Stack Edge Mini R that support data processing at low-latency levels and high availability modules providing network resilience. Tom Keane, the Corporate Vice President at Microsoft Azure, stated in a blog, “we have recently completed the buildout of new Azure Government Top Secret regions, and we are working with the US Government on accreditation. As part of our ongoing commitment to commercial parity as driven by government mission requirements, Azure Government Top Secret regions are designed to provide the same capabilities as Azure (commercial), Azure Government, and Azure Government Secret, enabling a