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Announcing Microsoft 365 for US Government

Focus on: Microsoft in Government

Make no mistake: over the last few years, we’ve seen faster acceleration of government organizations moving to the cloud. So why now? This move is driven largely by the desire to bring the most up-to-date tools and capabilities to employees to meet demands for mobility and create a more modern workplace—and to ensure they are better equipped to face rising security challenges. And this desire is supported by recent legislation like the Modernizing Government Technology Act, which creates IT modernization funds to help agencies replace aging infrastructure that poses security risks. That’s why today we are excited to announce the availability of Microsoft 365 for US Government Cloud environments, which will bring together Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), and Windows 10 for US Government organizations to help agencies provide a modern workplace while meeting US compliance and security standards.  At Microsoft, we realized early on that we must continually invest in helping our government customers meet their compliance and security requirements. From a regulatory standpoint, we’ve committed to meeting US federal standards like FEDRAMP, or industry regulations like CJIS in law enforcement, FERPA in education, or HIPAA in healthcare, along with many others, to show our understanding and commitment. And when it comes to security, many organizations these days are wondering when—not if—they’ll be attacked. Microsoft can quickly update its services to protect against threats, where many government agencies with on-premises environments may take weeks if not months to deploy patches in the event of an attack. Our ability to dramatically speed up the timeline can result in real ROI savings—and better protected citizen data—for our government cloud customers. That’s especially critical for budget-constrained government agencies that need to direct funds to help citizens—not patch security holes in an aging, on-premises infrastructure. What Microsoft 365 for US Government brings to the table for government agencies of all sizes is the value of cloud services with the unique compliance commitments for handling controlled unclassified information. In addition, for US government customers, Microsoft offers three cloud environments where data is isolated in the US and in its own separate physical infrastructure—servers, racks, networks. All three environments meet the minimum bar for all government-specific regulations, data security, and privacy:

  • Government Community Cloud (GCC) is built to serve civilian government agencies at the state, local, and federal level.
  • GCC High is built to serve government customers in highly sensitive situations and the commercial organizations that do business with those entities, like air and defense contractors.
  • DoD Cloud is specifically for Department of Defense—not just the military, but also for agencies that sit within the armed forces.

Government agencies at every level—federal, state, and local—are feeling a push from all of us as citizens for deeper engagement, more transparent communications, and more modern ways to connect with government representatives. They are also trying to figure out how to attract and retain talent in a competitive job market. And finally, they need to empower their current employees to engage with citizens, create more innovative services, and improve operations. The modern workplace tools in Microsoft 365 can help government agencies connect with citizens, work from anywhere using any device, collaborate better across departmental and agency boundaries, gain unique insights into government programs and agency operations, and stay securely connected when they’re in the field. That’s why we designed Microsoft 365 for US Government with the following principles in mind:

  • Teamwork. We’re enabling teams to work better together. OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online enable people to collaborate more cohesively via secure sharing and real-time co-authoring, while Skype for Business Online provides a single platform for calling, conferencing, video, and sharing across almost any device. And Surface Hub helps agencies constrained by tight travel budgets connect and collaborate more effectively through immersive, real-time meetings.
  • Intelligent security. Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) provides identity-driven protection for critical data. Government employees can work and collaborate securely from anywhere on any device using familiar, cloud-based Office 365 apps and tools. Government agencies can leverage automated file level data encryption with Azure Information Protection, Conditional Access with Multifactor Authentication with Azure Active Directory, manage and PCs and mobile devices with Microsoft Intune, and protect on premises identities from advanced attacks with Microsoft Advanced Threat Protection. These innovative technologies ensure protection at the data, user, app, and device level, helping IT to intelligently safeguard government and citizen data.
  • Insight-driven productivity. Nobody should be locked out of data. Government employees need to see data in real time, to address citizen issues right away. Power BI Pro delivers compliant BI capabilities, so employees can securely analyze and share data in easily consumable visual formats to identify issues and opportunities to serve citizens better.
  • Built-in creativity. Employees can use intelligent services in Office apps like PowerPoint Designer and Word Editor to create more compelling content. We’ve also incorporated more capabilities to bring out the power of the pen or touch to make devices more accessible for users with a wide range of preferences and abilities.
  • Accessibility. Governments often lead the charge on accessibility standards, and we’re constantly learning from them how we can improve to ensure we are creating technology and services that are accessible to everybody.

At Microsoft, we’ve listened closely to how our US Government customers want us to package and transact our services, and we’ve listened to their concerns and questions about security, privacy, and regulatory requirements. The result is reliable, scalable, secure, and cost-effective cloud services for government agencies at all levels. To learn more, visit Microsoft 365 for US Government.