What’s New, What’s to Come for Microsoft Government Clouds
Newly Arrived –
These are exciting times for Microsoft government customers. With recent and upcoming updates aplenty, more and more modern Microsoft tools and capabilities—especially cloud-based ones—are being adapted for governments, agencies, and contractors. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s come out recently and what’s still on the horizon.
This March, Microsoft announced the general availability of an Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security bundle. Microsoft offers three different government cloud options, depending on the level of security and compliance required: GCC (Government Community Cloud), for civilian state, local, tribal, and federal bodies; GCC High, for agencies needing high levels of classification; and DoD cloud, reserved specifically for the U.S. Department of Defense and intelligence agencies. A glance at the features available to the different clouds reveals several gaps, representing those products still not available in Microsoft’s main government offering. It will be a while longer before some bodies will be able to fully utilize Microsoft 365.
Still to Come
For example, Microsoft Teams for governments was projected to release this month, but (possibly due to compliance requirements) was delayed. As a result, it’s now slated for Q3 2018 for DoD and early 2019 for GCC High. In the meantime, Skype for Business is still available for both. Microsoft Planner, similarly, is due in Q3 of this year.
Azure Stack for governments has been seen in the distance for some time now, currently scheduled for mid-2018 release. Azure Stack will allow governmental bodies to host what is essentially a private cloud kept on-premises. It’ll then integrate with the Azure Government clouds, allowing users to utilize Microsoft identities and tools both on-premises and in the cloud while maintaining security and compliance.
Finally, via the introduction of new datacenters, Microsoft is expanding cloud services internationally. The presence of datacenters within borders for countries like France, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates will allow foreign governments maintain their own compliance by keeping data within their physical borders.
Microsoft’s new and upcoming options for government customers are appetizing, especially for those seeking to modernize and become more efficient using cloud technology. We’re well aware, however, of the unique challenges faced by governments seeking to incorporate the Microsoft cloud into traditional on-premises environments. Too often, the flexibility and efficiency offered by the cloud is swamped by the inefficiencies of managing multiple platforms. In addition, finding ways to serve the diverse needs of different departments, agencies, and entities can add to the load. With everything else going on, security and compliance too easily fall by the wayside as regulations change and attackers grow more cunning.
The result is frequently an inefficient tangle of systems spread over a variety of platforms, without much standardization and vulnerable to attack.
Microsoft’s hybrid offering, Azure Stack, won’t be ideal or even possible for many governmental bodies. The best solution lies in Cayosoft Administrator, a product designed for the smooth management of complex, unique Microsoft environments. It increases efficiency, eliminates scripting, automates rote tasks, and helps maintain security and compliance through administrative roles and reports. On top of that, it’s flexible and customizable, allowing IT to efficiently serve the specialized needs of different departments.
Sound impossible? It’s not. Check out this whitepaper to see how one state uses Cayosoft Administrator.