Windows Azure Opens the Door for Federal Cloud Adoption

    Federal and local government agencies have had secure access to Office 365 for some time now. But agencies wanting to make use of Microsoft Azure Governement Cloud services have, until recently, been denied the opportunity.

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    This article excerpt, by Rick Blaisdell, originally appeared here:

    A few days ago, Microsoft received notice that Windows Azure has been granted Provisional Authorities to Operate (P-ATO) from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Joint Authorization Board (JAB).  Windows Azure is the first public cloud platform, with infrastructure services and platform services, to receive a JAB P-ATO. This opens the door for agencies to quickly meet U.S. government Cloud First Computing initiatives and realize the benefits of the cloud using Windows Azure.

    FedRAMP is a U.S. government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services. The JAB is the primary governance group of the FedRAMP program, consisting of the chief information officers of the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. General Services Administration.

    As government organizations realize the benefits of secure cloud computing, we should all take a closer look at the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that can help you create web applications and manage data.

    Here are some Windows Azure use cases:

    •to build web applications that run and store their data in Microsoft data centers

    •to store data, with the applications that use this data running on-premises

    •to extend the data storage infrastructure

    •to create virtual machines for development and test

    •to run SharePoint and other applications

    Microsoft aims to showcase Window’s Azure leadership in cloud security, offering this dedicated cloud environment that can meet the specific needs of government agencies. Susie Adams, CTO for Microsoft’s federal government business declared that the differences between this government-only cloud and Microsoft’s public Windows Azure cloud computing environment is the warranty that government tenants are physically and logically separated from other tenants, and that they will meet the more stringent security controls required by the Department of Defense.

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