Microsoft unveils ‘cloud communities’ for US Government

Jennifer Scott News
2 Mar, 2012

Government agencies in the US will be able to use Office 365 privately, encouraging the public sector to the cloud.

Microsoft has announced a new feature of Office 365 to encourage more Government agencies to adopt the service.

The Redmond firm will enable departments in the US to deploy the solution - offering the Office suite, email and unified communications in a Software as a Service (SaaS) model - through a dedicated environment, keeping it away from the multi-tenanted data centres of the public cloud solution.

“Despite what some of our competitors would have you believe, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution here,” wrote Curt Kolcan, vice president of the US public sector division at Microsoft, in a blog post.

“What works for the Department of Agriculture might not work for an intelligence agency, and that’s OK.  A diversity of missions requires a portfolio of solutions, which is why Microsoft is committed to offering our government customers the most flexible, secure and reliable cloud solutions in the industry.”

The new Government-only environments have been named “Government community clouds” by Microsoft and will ensure only federal data will be stored inside, giving the extra security and peace of mind many public sector organisations desire.

“The reality is that not every workload or customer is headed to the cloud in the near future,” added Kolcan.

“Agencies will continue to operate IT infrastructures that include both cloud and on-premises assets, and it’s important for technology leaders to strongly consider interoperability and flexibility features when building and managing these “hybrid” IT environments.”

Microsoft has not yet revealed whether it will roll this service out to other environments, including its Dublin data centre serving the UK, but Kolcan said the company was dedicated to giving Governments the extra features they need.

He concluded: “We believe a vendor’s job is to offer you the freedom to obtain the productivity tools that make the most sense for your mission, because your mission doesn’t fit within a “one size fits all” approach.”     

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