Microsoft Azure Government Adds Isolation and Security Features

Microsoft has announced the general availability of Azure Government. This is in continuation to the release of a private preview of Azure Government at the Microsoft Federal Executive Forum in March 2014.

Microsoft released the recent public release after one hundred government customers and solution providers put Azure Government through testing and evaluation. The product team gathered feedback and inputs from beta customers over a period of 8-9 months.

Microsoft has designed and developed Azure Government exclusively for public sector undertakings with following features

Isolation

Microsoft has isolated all aspects of Microsoft Azure Government’s hyperscale infrastructure including the datacenter, hardware, network and software to make sure that it meets the unique compliance standards of the US. public sector. It covers all physical, logical and network components of the service.

Community

Azure Government is restricted to target set of government agencies and their solution providers including federal, state, local, tribal and the Department of Defense. It is not available to ordinary developers.

Security

Datacenters hosting Azure Government data are secured using physical, logical and procedural controls. The features include secured access control to the datacenter, second person, screened escorts, aisle cameras and secured cabling in addition to regular auditing and logs.

Screened personnel

Data center operation for Azure Government are performed by background screened personnel who are based in United States. These personnel are deployed in redundant Service Operating Centers (SOCs), which are greater than 500 miles apart.

Continental United States

All customer data, content, organizational data, hardware, networking, physical infrastructure and all personnel reside in the Continental United States (CONUS).

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Business continuity

Azure Government enables geo-replication and integrity between locations that supports business continuity and disaster recovery.

East Coast region

Microsoft has newly added an East Coast region in order to be in close proximity to customers and to provide efficient high speed connections to Washington DC and surrounding areas.

Azure Government

According to Microsoft, Azure Government has met all certifications and accreditations that are required for US public sector customers.

  • United States Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)
  • Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)/Enterprise Cloud Service Broker (ECSB)
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
  • Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Internal Revenue Service Publication 1075 Tax Information Security Guidelines for Federal, State and Local Agencies and Entities
  • 21 CFR Part 11 and Annex 11 (FDA)

“Another benefit of Azure Government is that applications created for Azure work natively on Azure Government. Azure Government includes a broad spectrum of Azure services, including IaaS, PaaS, Storage, VNETs, Azure Active Directory and SQL DB. As new features and compliance standards are added to Azure Government, we will continue to communicate them from this blog,” said Tom Keane, Partner Director, Program Management, Microsoft Azure.

Azure Government is already in use by over 100 government agencies and providers. Tom has mentioned the scenarios where Azure Government can be deployed

  • Audio & Video Surveillance
  • Big data & analytics
  • Private network connections to Azure Government
  • Development and test – Azure Government

Microsoft is currently accepting email applications from US government agencies and solution providers. Moreover, agencies can purchase Azure Government from the respective Licensing Service Provider (LSP).

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