Within minutes of each other on June 23, Microsoft and Amazon both announced they've gotten FedRAMP's highest authorization for their respective government cloud offerings.
Both the Azure Government cloud and Amazon's AWS GovCloud were among the cloud offerings that received a Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the authorization board under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) High baseline. This is the highest level for FedRAMP accreditation, and means those clouds have met the U.S. government's most rigorous security requirements.
Microsoft also has received the FedRAMP High accreditation for 13 of its cloud services, including Azure Key Vault, Express Route and Web Apps.
In other government cloud news, Microsoft officials announced earlier this week that they've added support for Premium Storage and several new pre-configured Virtual Machine images to Azure Government.
The new VM images include Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host on Windows Server 2012 R2;Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host with Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus;SharePoint Server 2016 Trial; and Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 Update 2 with Azure SDK 2.9 on Windows Server 2012 R2.
Microsoft made its Azure Government cloud, codenamed "Fairfax," initially available to U.S. government customers in December 2014.
Azure Government is for government agencies (federal, state, local, tribal and the Department of Defense) and their resellers/solution providers. Its datacenters are secured and operated and supported by U.S. citizens with background screening. All customer data, content, organizational data, hardware, networking, phyiscal infrastructure and supporting personnel are in the continental U.S. There's also a dedicated East Coast region designed to be close to Washington D.C. and surrounding area customers to help provide high-speed connections due to proximity.
Update: Speaking of government cloud certifications, Microsoft also announced today that:
- Azure Government has received an Impact Level 4 Provisional Authorization by the Defense information Systems Agency (DISA). This accreditation applies to both infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) services and will allow all U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) customers and partners to use Azure Government for controlled unclassified information.
- Azure Government supports International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) readiness, which means customers and partners who store and process ITAR-regulated data can conform to these data requirements.