Microsoft broadens government cloud offerings
- By Carolyn Duffy Marsan
- Dec 09, 2014
Microsoft has expanded its cloud services for public sector customers with an announcement that Azure Government is now available and Dynamics CRM Online Government will be offered in January.
Michael Donlan, vice president of state and local government at Microsoft, said the company’s end-to-end integrated cloud now offers the broadest array of government-ready cloud capabilities on the market, including CRM and Office 365 services.
“It spans all the offerings that can be in the cloud: productivity, infrastructure-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, business process-as-a-service, identity management and mobility,’’ Donlan said. “It is one government cloud that meets U.S. regulations for federal and state and also has the ability to integrate in hybrid public/private environments.”
Microsoft also claims it supports the broadest array of security and privacy standards, including: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), the IRS 1075 encryption standard, Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA) and Federal Risk and Authorization program (FedRAMP) standards.
Early adopters of Microsoft’s integrated cloud offerings include the states of Texas and Alabama. Texas has 110,000 Office 365 seats and is rolling out Azure Government for law enforcement applications because of its support for CJIS standards.
Alabama is deploying Office 365 to 23,000 employees and is developing Medicaid applications on Azure Government in a hybrid environment that uses a private data center.
Azure Government and Dynamics CRM Online Government are designed to save agencies money by eliminating the need for dedicated IT resources for bursty applications such as video storage while also speeding up deployment of new applications in such areas as citizen engagement.
“In some cases, government will move existing workloads to the cloud to run at greater efficiency and reduced cost. Another scenario is developing completely new solutions such as big data analytics with Hadoop or machine learning or scenarios around managing large sets of government multimedia in the cloud,’’ Donlan said.
Microsoft has 3 million federal, state and local government users of Office 365, which provides email and collaboration. Customers include the cities of Chicago and San Jose, New York State and Los Angeles County.
With Azure Government, Microsoft is adding cloud services to the mix, including compute, storage, data networking and identity management via Active Directory. Azure Government is hosted in Microsoft data centers that are located within the United States and operated by U.S. personnel with security clearances. Using Azure Government, agencies can run workloads in the public cloud, government cloud or in their own data center.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM adds cloud-based business applications such as case management and logistics. This platform also operates in hybrid environments combining public and private cloud and integrates with Azure and Office 365 government community clouds.
Microsoft said Azure Government and Dynamics CRM Online Government will be available through all of its government resellers and on all of its government contracts.
Microsoft said 125 companies have ported their third-party applications to Azure Government for local, state and federal customers. One of these partners is Vievu, which markets body cameras for police officers. Another is NC4, which offers public safety and security solutions.
The new features will provide customers a broad set of options, said Donlan. “They don’t have to move everything to the cloud. They can move some applications to the cloud, and others can run in their data centers. They can manage a hybrid environment, which will be a differentiator for Microsoft.”
Carolyn Duffy Marsan is a writer based in Milwaukee, Wisc., covering enterprise technology.