Microsoft is now approved to host production workloads at the secret classified level for the Department of Defense and other national security missions. The new authority is a key component of the company’s ability to deliver on its award in the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract.
Tom Keane, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Azure Global, announced in a blog post that the company’s Azure Secret Government cloud service has achieved a provisional authority to host DOD data at impact level 6 (IL6) — categorized as classified national security information.
“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 says of the service.
Late last year, the company earned a 90-day temporary authorization to work with DOD test workloads at IL6. This newest authorization demonstrates Microsoft’s government cloud offering can now move forward to host some of the defense and intelligence communities’ most sensitive information.
Under the $10 billion JEDI contract, Microsoft is required to meet IL6 within 180 days of the October award. Within 270 days, it will also need to receive authorization to handle Top Secret government information, per the contract.
Work under that contract, however, is put on hold as Amazon Web Services has protested that DOD erred in evaluating bids from the two vendors. DOD authorized AWS at IL6 in November 2017. The company is currently the only cloud provider approved to handle Top Secret information for the federal government.
Microsoft will surely want a piece of the intelligence community’s forthcoming multi-billion-dollar multi-cloud procurement Commercial Cloud Enterprise (C2E), which could be awarded as soon as September.
Part of Keane’s announcement, Microsoft also launched a third region under Azure Secret Government that he says enables “even higher availability for national security missions to stay ahead of their unique threats.” The three regions are more than “500 miles apart to enable applications to stay running in the face of a disaster without a break in continuity of operations.”