Microsoft’s productivity suite is now available at a more secure classification level.
Microsoft unveiled more secure capabilities for its government customers with Microsoft Office 365 Government Secret cloud on Tuesday, which is now generally available to defense, intelligence and other government customers, per a company announcement.
“This release is a substantial commitment to bring the most advanced, secure and compliant productivity and collaboration tools to help secure classified data,” Paul Lorimer, corporate vice president of Office 365 enterprise and cloud engineering, said in a blog post. “We’re ready to assist the United States federal civilian, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community and United States government partners working within the Secret domain with our foremost software as a service capabilities.”
Office 365 Secret will include the first release of capabilities for Exchange, Outlook and other Microsoft 365 apps at the secret classification level, according to the blog post.
Microsoft’s announcement comes after it was one of several awardees for the Defense Department’s $9 billion Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability—or JWCC—contract, which also included awardees Amazon Web Services, Google and Oracle. The contract—announced in December—will help the Pentagon bring cloud computing capabilities across the Defense Department. Each company will compete for individual task orders under the contract.
While Microsoft has secret and top-secret accreditation for its Azure cloud, the addition of Office 365 Secret means Microsoft is offering productivity tools at Impact Level 6—which is reserved for classified data. Microsoft stated that this new environment allows agencies to “use the full cloud experience to not only establish an infrastructure platform to collect, process and operationalize data, but to enable cloud-based collaboration and communication in the classified environment.”
This new offering could open Microsoft up to a bigger customer base, allowing users to deal with more sensitive data in a software suite already familiar to them.