​Microsoft claims ASD cloud certification for 50 Azure, Office 365 services

The Redmond-based tech giant now has 50 services across Azure and Office 365 available for adoption by Australian government organisations.

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) has given the tick of approval to an additional 36 services from Microsoft Azure and a total of 10 from Office 365 for unclassified dissemination limiting marker (DLM) use, which allows for the storing of sensitive government data.

The nod from the country's intelligence agency sees Microsoft now boast 50 services on the ASD Certified Cloud Services List (CCSL) across Azure and Office 365, marking what James Kavanagh, National Technology Officer for Microsoft Australia called the culmination of 12-18 months of innovation and security assurance work.

The new certifications expand the range of services government, healthcare, and education organisations can consume from the tech giant when bound by ASD certification.

"With this broader range of services instead of simply offering cloud services that relate to storage and networking, for example, this is now offering services around machine learning, internet of things, analytics, operations, and security, as some examples," Kavanagh told ZDNet, noting it allows for organisations and their partners to build on top of Microsoft's offerings.

"That hasn't been easy for Australian government or public sector organisations to take advantage of in the past."

Given the geographic location of many Microsoft datacentres falling outside of Australian boundaries, the company cannot achieve protected-level status for government documentation; however Kavanagh said there are services "coming downstream" that will allow government organisations to "go beyond" just the unclassified data.

The ASD awarded protected-level certification to Australian-based Sliced Tech and Vault Systems in March, allowing the local players to store highly classified government information in their respective cloud platforms.

At the same time, the signals directorate recognised a total of seven companies for unclassified DLM status: Amazon Web Services for its EBS, EC2, S3, and VPC offerings; Bluemix by IBM; GovZone from Macquarie Telecom; Microsoft with its Azure cloud, Dynamics CRM Online, and Office 365 platforms; Salesforce with its platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service offerings; SliceTech's SaaS cloud; and Vault System's SaaS cloud.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM originally received ASD certification in November 2015, however Kavanagh explained that is on a different time frame for certification than Azure and 365 ,and as a result has not received any additional certification in this round.

"We're really seeing incredible adoption in Australia in cloud technologies ever since we opened our datacentres and been driving forward with continuous expansions of those services, it's really been quite impressive," Kavanagh said.

"Australia would be one of the fastest, most rapidly adopting consumers of cloud and mobile."

Earlier this month, Optus Business announced it would be offering its secure private cloud service to multiple Australian government agencies under a deal with Canberra Data Centres, which has over 40 government departments using the four centres it operates across two datacentres in the ACT.

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