Microsoft Top Secret Project: A New Cloud Offering

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) has finally unveiled one of their highly secretive product offerings specifically tailored for the United States Government.

The Redmond, Washington-based tech behemoth, at the annual Government Leaders Summit 2020 announced their newest cloud offering called ‘Azure Government Top Secret’.

As the name suggests, it is no ordinary product accessible to everyone. It is made available only for the US government people who need to manage top-secret classified data.

Note here that this is not Microsoft’s first exclusive product for the US Government. Along with the Azure public cloud (commercial), Microsoft had previously launched the Azure Government and Azure Government Secret as well. Now, with this newest addition, Microsoft is currently working with the U.S. government to get accredited.

Source: Microsoft

On December 7, officials, in a statement, said that the tech giant recently completed the entire build-out of the newly launched Azure Government Top Secret regions. On the same note, Microsoft executives said that this offering’s biggest advantage is – consistency.

The various different Azure products work seamlessly together and thus it makes it possible for development on any one of the product offering after which the code can be then promoted to a higher classification level.

Microsoft execs also mentioned that the Azure Government Secret is authorised by the Department of Defense Impact Level 6 (IL6) and Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 503. And, that Windows Virtual Desktop has now been made available in Azure Government with FedRAMP High accreditation.

In the Government Secret product, AKS aka Azure Kubernetes Service and Microsoft’s Azure Container are already available. Azure Sentinel (a proactive threat-management service) and Azure Security Center are included Government Secret’s security front.

Now, along with launching this exclusive US Government only product, Microsoft also announced new functionality for the Azure Government offering, which, according to officials, is being utilised by the U.S. Department of Defense, law enforcement and other US agencies as well.

The functionality is being called ‘Availability Zones’ and they are built to handle failures in the data centre via redundancy and logical isolation of services. What more? Microsoft is adding their own Azure edge-computing devices to its ‘tactical edge’ portfolio which includes the recently announced Azure Modular Datacenter and ruggedized versions of Azure Stack Edge Pro, Azure Stack Hub and Azure Stack Edge Mini R. But that’s not all.

Available at Impact Level 5 and 6, the Azure Modular Datacenter is getting a High Availability Power Module and a new Network High Availability Module which will significantly improve network resiliency via multiple satellite connection partners placed in different orbits.

The Azure Modular Datacenter is basically a stripped-down portable version of an Azure datacenter which presently runs on the Azure Stack.

It is primarily available to the United States government customers such as US federal, state, local, or tribal government entities and their solution providers (provided they go through an eligibility review first). But besides that, Microsoft has said it also be made available to those in need of portable datacenters with an option of satellite connectivity. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.


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