cloud security

Microsoft gears up for FedRAMP high

Microsoft is on track to provide more secure cloud services to government agencies when it becomes authorized by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program to process high-impact level data.

Azure Government was chosen to participate in FedRAMP’s pilot program to build the High Impact Baseline standard. With successful completion of the pilot, Microsoft expects High Impact Provisional Authority to Operate for its Azure Government environment by the end of the month, according to the company’s Azure blog.

Previously, government was able to migrate and securely process only low- and moderate-impact workloads to FedRAMP-certified cloud services. With "FedRAMP high,"  data sensitive enough to threaten organizational operations or assets if leaked, could be stored on Azure and other services that secure the new authorization.  

Microsoft also said it has finalized the Security Assessment Report to meet the requirements of Defense Information Systems Agency Impact Level 4 so the Department of Defense -- and eventually other federal government customers -- can process and deploy controlled unclassified information (CUI) in an Azure cloud. This includes mission-critical data and data requiring protection against unauthorized disclosure.

Additionally, Microsoft will launch two new physically isolated regions within its Azure Government cloud for DOD data later this year.  DOD East and DOD West will be dedicated to workloads and data at DISA Impact Level 5, to CUI needing higher level of protection and to unclassified National Security Systems data.  The new regions will comply with the DOD’s Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide, which demands that cloud data be processed in a dedicated infrastructure that ensures physical separation of DOD customers from non-DOD tenants.

These two new regions for DOD data will be the first of their kind, the company said, and follow the Defense Department’s announcement that it would standardize all of its systems on Windows 10 within a year.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a Reporter/Producer for GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media, Ziadeh was a contributing journalist for USA Today Travel's Experience Food and Wine site. She's also held a communications assistant position with the University of Maryland Office of the Comptroller, and has reported for the American Journalism Review, Capitol File Magazine and DC Magazine.

Ziadeh is a graduate of the University of Maryland where her emphasis was multimedia journalism and French studies.

Click here for previous articles by Ms. Ziadeh or connect with her on Twitter: @aziadeh610.


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