Microsoft Upgrades Classified Cloud Offering

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Microsoft achieved a provisional authorization to host Defense Department data classified as secret.

Microsoft, which is locked in a legal battle over the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract, announced upgrades this week relevant to its defense and intelligence cloud offering, Azure Government Secret.

Tom Keane, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Azure Global, announced the company achieved a provisional authorization to host government data classified as secret. In a blog post, Keane said Azure’s Government Secret offering achieved the provisional authority at the Defense Department’s Impact Level 6 and additional standards required by the intelligence community to host classified secret workloads.

“Built exclusively for the needs of U.S. government and operated by cleared U.S. citizens, Azure Government Secret delivers dedicated regions to maintain the security and integrity of classified secret workloads while enabling reliable access to critical data,” Keane said.

The accreditation follows Microsoft’s temporary provisional authority to host classified secret workloads in December, two months after it won the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud contract. The JEDI contract required the winner to be able to host classified secret workloads within 180 days of the award and to host top secret workloads 270 days from the award. 

Amazon Web Services, which is protesting the Pentagon’s JEDI award in federal court, remains the only cloud service provider cleared to host the government’s top-secret data.

Keane also announced a third cloud region—each of which are 500 miles or more apart—to improve availability for national security-related missions and increase continuity of operations in a disaster scenario. Each region provides more than 35 services for Azure Government Secret customers—including infrastructure-, platform- and software-as-a-service offerings—and is operated by cleared U.S. citizens.