Microsoft has been working with the U.S., state and local governments over the last few months in an effort to bring the cloud to its workers. As part of a Microsoft Government Cloud Forum this week in Washington, D.C., the company has showcased new products and updates for its existing suite of tools.
One of the bigger announcements was that Microsoft 365, the Windows 10 and Office 365 subscription service unveiled for the general public at Inspire 2017 last month, will be coming to U.S. government environments in early 2018. Microsoft Teams, formerly Skype for Business, will be part of the package, along with PowerApps, Planner and Flow.
The service also has increased security, something that is necessary with the growing threat of hacking. "The workplace is changing rapidly," Ron Markezich, corporate VP for Office Services Marketing, said in a blog post. "By 2020, Millennials will make up more than 50 percent of the workforce. By 2022, more than 42 percent of the global workforce will be mobile. And with security threats on the rise, 74 percent of businesses say they expect to be hacked in the next year."
Also announced today:
- Azure Government Secret: Last year, Azure Government was the first cloud service to be awarded Impact Level 5 authorization for the Department of Defense. This year, the company has announced plans to make Azure Government Secret available to support government agencies and partners who have classified data by delivering mission-critical security features, including advanced analytics and intelligent detections to combat evolving threats.
- Blockchain for Azure Government: This will support nearly all of Microsoft’s public Azure blockchain and distributed ledger marketplace solutions, including Ethereum, HyperLedger Fabric, R3 Corda, Quorum, Chain Core, and BlockApps. In the public sector, blockchain can transform processes and services such as licensing, voting records, utilities, benefits management, taxes and more.
- Azure Security Center for Azure Government: This security management and advanced threat protection will allow governments to take advantage of new threat detections and identify inbound attacks and malicious activity that could indicate a breach.
Microsoft also revealed updates for High Performance Computing for Azure Government, Citrix VDI on Azure Government, and Dynamics 365 Government, which are further detailed on the Microsoft Azure blog.
The timing of all the Azure updates for government come at a time when the United States is finding itself increasingly vulnerable to foreign cyber attacks. October has been designated as Cyber Security Awareness Month, so the increased spotlight on the topic is welcome. Hopefully these new updates will provide more reliability going forward.