As government agencies, from the federal to the municipal level, strive to meet mandates for the use of cloud technology, they must also meet and maintain high security and management standards to safeguard the sensitive data many of their mission systems hold. At Microsoft, we recognize that agencies are working with a variety of legacy software and tools, from multiple vendors, and do not have the budget or staffing resources to completely replace systems as part of a migration to open platforms and the cloud. Fortunately, they don’t have to.

Microsoft’s goal is to enable seamless, effective management of government agencies’ information, applications and software, across any operating system, any data, any developer and any cloud. The Microsoft Cloud for Government brings together open technology, true hybrid deployment choices, and advanced productivity and mobility services-all built on a solid foundation that is trusted, more secure and compliant.

What does this mean for government agencies? It means that data from disparate systems, implemented over years, can be brought together in a single, consistent interface that preserves existing user identities and workflows. It means that an agency can choose to store data for public consumption in a public cloud and store highly sensitive data in a private cloud. And it means that an agency can deploy infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) to store data, host software and services, or develop hybrid applications in the cloud, based on its unique mission and goals.

The open technology movement has evolved to create an ecosystem of interoperable platforms and solutions that enable customers to share code and maximize value in their IT investment. Microsoft has been part of that evolution, developing tools and platforms that combine collaborative, innovative models with the highest standards of reliability and trustworthiness.

Today Microsoft is a leader in interoperable technologies, whether it’s Linux virtual machines running on Microsoft Azure, SDKs and tools for open source developers to build on Microsoft platforms, or nearly 2,000 open source projects in progress on GitHub and CodePlex. Agencies can meet their openness mandates with the help of Microsoft software, tools and cloud services. You can learn more about how Microsoft offers the most open cloud for government in the infographic below.

Microsoft has also made a number of announcements that demonstrate progress in helping advance an open, agile and interoperable cloud ecosystem in government. That includes expanding partnerships with Docker to make its open solutions available across Windows Server, Linux and in the cloud. Microsoft is integrating R, the world’s most popular programming language for statistical computing and predictive analytics, so government agencies can use it on-premises, in Azure public cloud or for hybrid cloud environments. And, Microsoft recently announced several new tools and services that support the company’s commitment to openness to help government developers and IT professionals.

Federal, state and local government agencies and their partners are using the Microsoft Cloud for Government to simplify and evolve their operations as part of their digital transformation.

  • Openness. Microsoft and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are collaborating to share NOAA’s vast data resources on the Microsoft Azure Government cloud platform so that public agencies and their partners can use the data to create and improve mission-critical applications.
  • Security. The largest county sheriff department in the U.S. with 29 cities under its remit, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department adopted Microsoft Office 365 to improve real-time emergency response while meeting the privacy and security requirements of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) and the California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (CLETS).
  • Productivity. Federal agencies such as the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and portions of the U.S. Navy all upgraded their cloud environments to use Microsoft Office 365 across departments. The vast majority of cabinet-level agencies, in whole or in part, are moving to the Microsoft Cloud for Government.
  • Flexibility. Texas and Alabama are adopting the Microsoft Cloud for Government. Alabama, for instance, is deploying Office 365 Government and a hybrid cloud initiative involving Microsoft Azure Government to host and manage Alabama Medicaid’s entire Health Information Exchange and Alabama’s CARES system for multi-program eligibility and enrollment.
  • Mobility. Mecklenburg County in North Carolina implemented a solution incorporating Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Surface Pro and Microsoft Azure to integrate operations across departments and enable mobile services while keeping data and operations more secure.

Learn more about the Microsoft Cloud for Government at http://aka.ms/GovCloud.

By Susie Adams, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft Federal.