Microsoft Azure Government Comes Out Of Preview

Microsoft today announced that its Azure Government cloud computing service for federal, state, local and tribal U.S. governments is now generally available after more than a year of being in preview. This means the service is now open to all U.S. government customers. There are no more preview programs and the service is also now open for all workloads.

By default, Azure Government ensures that all data stays within the U.S. and within data centers and networks that are physically isolated from the rest of Microsoft’s cloud computing solution. It’s in compliance with FedRAMP, a mandatory government-wide program that prescribes a standardized way to carry out security assessments for cloud services. It also supports a wide range of other compliance standards, including HIPAA and the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), which is meant to keep safe fingerprint and background-check data that has to be shared with other agencies.

As Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella also announced at the company’s Government Cloud Summit in Washington, D.C., today, Dynamics CRM Online for Government will also soon become available.

“The Microsoft Cloud for Government is the most complete cloud for any government organization aiming to be more productive, agile and efficient in today’s mobile-first and cloud-first world,” Nadella said in a canned statement today. “We are proud to offer Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online to the growing number of government agencies that are ready to deploy leading-edge cloud computing solutions.”

Amazon has long been offering a similar service for government authorities with its GovCloud. Amazon’s service covers a very similar range of features, though Microsoft may have a bit of an advantage in that it also offers government versions of Office 365. Google offers a version of Google Apps for government users, but it doesn’t currently offer a GovCloud-like version of its cloud computing services.