5 min read
Today, we are announcing the expansion of our mission-critical cloud for US Government with new capabilities in Azure Government, the expansion of Azure Government Secret, and the announcement of a new cloud to serve customers with Top Secret classified data—Azure Government Top Secret.
Announcing Azure Government Top Secret
We have recently completed the buildout of new Azure Government Top Secret regions, and we are working with the US Government on accreditation. As part of our ongoing commitment to commercial parity as driven by government mission requirements, Azure Government Top Secret regions are designed to provide the same capabilities as Azure (commercial), Azure Government, and Azure Government Secret, enabling a continuum of compute from mission cloud to tactical edge.
The broad range of services will meet the demand for greater agility in the classified space, including the need to gain deeper insights from data sourced from any location as well as the need to enable the rapid expansion of remote work. Additionally, mission owners will benefit from greater choice in modernizing legacy systems, with a secure cloud platform that works on open standards and open frameworks with tools that work across a wide range of skill levels, from business analysts to developers to data scientists.
Azure Government Secret new functionality
Azure Government Secret continues to help mission owners unlock new insights, enable secure innovation, achieve greater agility, and further the mission. Customers including those in the US DoD, law enforcement, and other agencies are using Azure Government Secret today. Azure Government Secret is authorized by both Department of Defense Impact Level 6 (IL6) and Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 503.
“Microsoft is focused on mission enablement. Missions are enabled with workloads. Workloads live within enclaves that house varied levels of data. Microsoft is enabling seamless, secure, cost-contained agility across mission workloads at scale.
The consistency between Azure (commercial), Azure Government, and Azure Government Secret is also starting to change the game as software development may happen from anywhere, while the code itself can be promoted to enclaves with higher classification levels. There it can interact with data of higher classification levels. At the end of the day, this means doing more for the mission at a lower overall cost.” —Carroll Moon, CTO of CloudFit Software.
Today, we are announcing several new services in Azure Government Secret; for application developers, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), and Azure Container Instances help you deploy and manage containerized applications more easily. Intelligent security analytics services Azure Sentinel and Azure Security Center are also now available in Azure Government Secret, enabling unified security across your digital estate and integrated, proactive threat management. Together with Azure Monitor, these services help you collect, analyze, and act on telemetry data from your Azure and on-premises environments.
Azure Government Availability Zones, Windows Virtual Desktop availability, and expanded compliance
Events over the past year have highlighted the importance of securely maintaining critical government operations. We have designed and built our cloud platforms for high availability and resilience, and today, we are announcing Availability Zones in Azure Government, providing high availability for your most demanding mission-critical applications and data. Availability Zones are tolerant to datacenter failures through redundancy and logical isolation of services, assuring that critical customer services and workloads are available, anytime, and anywhere.
In addition to responding to unprecedented events, government agencies are rapidly responding to today’s imperative of remote work, and we’ve seen high demand for solutions that allow teams to work from anywhere while keeping relevant data within a securely managed environment. We recently announced the availability of Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) in Azure Government with FedRAMP High accreditation, enabling agencies to adopt WVD for mission-critical workloads and empowering more secure and productive work-from-anywhere scenarios.
As new services are brought into each of our government-only cloud regions, we are working with our accreditors to ensure these services are authorized at the right level for your workloads. We now offer 137 Azure Government services at FedRAMP High and 97 services at Department of Defense Impact Level 5 (IL5) across all Azure Government regions.1 Visit our documentation page for a full list of services by audit scope.
Total flexibility at the tactical edge
Today, we are announcing updates to our tactical edge portfolio for US Government customers. Together, these new first-party edge devices help you to do more for the mission, whether that is pre-processing data for low latency response times, bringing AI and machine learning (ML) to the far edge, or harnessing satellite data more rapidly to enable decision-making in disconnected environments.
Modular Datacenter generally available at Impact Level 5 and 6 with high availability options
The recently announced Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC) provides datacenter scale compute and storage resources for areas in which adverse conditions, disrupted network availability, and limited access to specialized infrastructure would typically prohibit cloud computing. The MDC can run separate security enclaves, allowing mission users to operate workloads across multiple data classifications at the same time in a single unit, and like the other ruggedized devices, can operate in fully connected, occasionally connected, or fully disconnected scenarios. The MDC allows government customers to deploy a single piece of critical infrastructure to meet the needs of a wide variety of mission workloads at various levels of classification, all in a self-contained footprint that reduces logistics overhead.
Today we are announcing:
- The network high availability (HA) module for the MDC that provides network resiliency through multiple satellite communication partners in different orbits. Network resiliency is delivered via SATCOM links through our continuously growing ecosystem of SATCOM partners like SpaceX and SES, for continuity of operations (COOP) during fiber failover.
- The high availability power module, which adds resiliency where customers need it, providing an on-demand way to add additional power stability resources in a form factor that is as transportable as the MDC. For deployments with intermittent or unreliable power, transitioning between multiple power sources will keep MDC workloads up and running.
Azure Stack Hub Ruggedized
Azure Stack Hub Ruggedized from Microsoft is an Azure Hardware and Software solution that brings a cloud-consistent approach to operating environments while addressing limited or no network connectivity, harsh conditions requiring military specifications, and high security requirements with optional connectivity to any Azure cloud. Azure Stack Hub Ruggedized is now generally available for customers in Azure Government and Azure Government Secret.
Azure Stack Edge Pro R and Mini R
The Azure Stack Edge appliances Azure Stack Edge Pro R and Azure Stack Edge Mini R enable you to run applications and leverage hardware-accelerated AI and ML solutions to analyze, transform, and filter data at the edge, right where data is created and collected. You can then aggregate data in Azure for further analytics, with common app logic across both. The appliances also act as a cloud storage gateway, enabling eyes-off data transfers to Azure while retaining local access to files. Azure Stack Edge Pro R and Mini R are generally available for customers in Azure Government and Azure Government Secret.
Designed and built for your mission requirements, these rugged edge devices enable scenarios from disaster response to modern fleet management to perimeter security and dangerous object detection. US Government customers and their partners2 can use Azure commercial, Azure Government, and Azure Government Secret to advance their missions, depending on their compliance requirements. Providing a broad range of commercial innovation for government across IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS and the most comprehensive compliance, these cloud platforms are designed to help you modernize mission systems and stay in the lead, today and tomorrow.
2Azure Government is available to US federal, state, local, or tribal government entities and their solution providers with eligibility review. Azure Government Secret is available with US Government approval to agencies working with US Government data classified at the Secret level.