Microsoft to Offer Its Office 365 Platform for Classified Workloads

Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Microsoft’s popular software-as-a-service offering is undergoing government review to ensure it can host some kinds of classified data.

Microsoft’s popular Office 365 business suite will soon be available to intelligence and defense agencies at the secret classification level.

According to a Microsoft blog post, its Office 365 Government Secret offering “is currently in government review pending accreditation,” and could be deployed across select intelligence and defense agencies at the secret classification level by mid-2022 if approved.

Office 365 typically includes popular business applications, including Microsoft Word, Outlook, Teams, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Skype for Business.

“To support the mission-critical workload shift from on-premises to the cloud, it requires us to work closely with the government to provide a secure and trusted infrastructure. This new environment will run the latest enterprise-grade Office 365 Government productivity, security, compliance and collaboration applications,” the company said in its blog post. “This environment is built to support the US Federal Civilian, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community and US government partners working within the Secret enclave with our best-in-class software as a service capabilities.”

Microsoft’s pre-announcement follows government approval of its Azure Government Top Secret platform last August to handle all government workloads at secret, top secret and all other classification levels. Previously, Amazon Web Services had been the only company to achieve those capabilities, in large part due to its contracts with the CIA. The companies have vied for a series of high-profile intelligence contracts in recent years, and both are slated to provide services to the CIA’s next multi-billion cloud contract.