The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has removed the training wheels from Microsoft’s Azure Government Secret program, allowing it to support secret-level work across the entire Department of Defense.
On July 6, DISA expanded Microsoft’s Azure Government Secret provisional authorization, permitting the company to take on more work departmentwide, Roger Greenwell, DISA CIO and risk management executive, told FedScoop in an email. The new expansion also extends Microsoft’s secret-level authorization by a year.
“Lifting restrictions on the original provisional authorization … the extension covers Microsoft Azure Secret Region’s Infrastructure/Platform and opens onboarding to DoD mission partners for data classified at the Secret level,” the agency said in an announcement.
Prior to this, Microsoft had been limited in the type of work it could do providing Azure services to the DOD at Impact Level 6 (IL-6) — that is, any military information up to the secret level. The company earned a temporary, three-month authorization last December that allowed it to do secret-level work with “four pilot customers utilizing non-production data,” Greenwell said. That was extended again in March, again with the original limitations.
This one-year provisional authorization will expire July 10, 2021, Greenwell said. at which point Microsoft will need to re-up its accreditation. DISA can grant authorizations that last up to three years.
The ability to provide cloud infrastructure and platform services at IL-6 is a key requirement for Microsoft in its work with the DOD under the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) — if it’s able to hold onto the protested contract. Amazon, the only other cloud provider authorized to support DOD at IL-6, has spent the past nine months trying to prove to a federal claims court that defense officials erred in awarding JEDI to Microsoft. But while work has been halted under the contract, Microsoft has been able to spend the time ironing out its necessary authorizations.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently touted the importance of his company’s work with the military, particularly in providing cloud and distributed edge computing capabilities and emerging technologies.
Microsoft did not comment on the authorization prior to publication.