Microsoft touts the top secret ATO cloud
Microsoft announced that its top-secret and isolated Azure cloud regions have been granted permission to operate and are “generally available” for national security workloads.
Tom Keane, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Azure Global, wrote in an August 16 blog post that Azure Top Secret offers separate regions, “multiple options for data residency” and is launching with more than 60 services and more will be put online.
The services included in Azure Government Top Secret include advanced analysis functions designed to “help human analysts extract information faster, identify trends and anomalies, broaden perspectives and find new information,” all by supporting interoperability with other cloud services.
Microsoft was working on a top secret classification as a key deliverable for the $ 10 billion joint venture defense infrastructure contract with the Department of Defense. The JEDI solicitation stipulated that the winner would be able to set up a top secret, top secret cloud capacity within a specified time frame. While JEDI has been canceled, Microsoft is expected to be a major supplier of its replacement contract vehicle, which has yet to be named or announced.
The company announced plans to seek approval for top-secret cloud regions in December 2020, while the JEDI contract was still in effect. Microsoft also has customers in law enforcement and elsewhere in the intelligence community. Notably, Azure and Office 365 are available throughout the intelligence community through the common Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise (ICITE) platform through a joint enterprise license agreement with Dell, Inc.
Microsoft will also be able to leverage its high security rating should it prevail in its protest against a one-time $ 10 billion Amazon Web Services deal with the National Security Agency. FCW’s sister publication, Washington Technology, was the first to report on this protest against the contract known as “WildandStormy”.
According to the Washington Technology report, the NSA is looking to shift from its on-premises cloud solution to a more hybrid approach.
Adam Mazmanian is editor-in-chief of FCW.
Prior to joining the editorial team, Mazmanian was a writer at FCW covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was a technology correspondent for the National Journal and held various editorial positions at the B2B SmartBrief news service. Mazmanian has written reviews and articles for The Washington Post, Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine, and other publications.
Click here for previous Mazmanian articles. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.