Back in December, Microsoft announced Azure Government Top Secret, its mission-critical cloud offering designed for the U.S. Government. It deals with handling classified data, especially in national security missions. Now, the Redmond tech giant has announced the general availability of this service.
As can be seen in the graphic above, Microsoft has received the Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 503 certification in accordance with the ICD 705 standards, which means that it now has Authorization to Operate (ATO) its Azure Government Top Secret offering in collaboration with the U.S. Government. There are currently 60 services available in this package with more to follow soon. Some services include Azure Data Lake, CosmosDB, HDInsight, and Cognitive Services.
The goal is modernize existing legacy infrastructure to meet data management demands across multiple heterogeneous data sources. This is critical from a security perspective, especially in top secret government operations. Microsoft says that it has worked directly with the Department of Defense (DoD), Federal Civilian agencies, and the Intelligence Community (IC) to generally roll out Azure Government Top Secret. The company went on to say that:
Getting new mission capabilities into the hands of analysts and warfighters requires organizations to modernize existing systems and architect an interoperable enterprise. Azure provides a secure foundation for this innovation, with an open platform that enables developers to build with their choice of languages, tools, platforms, and frameworks, industry-leading tools for true cloud-native application development, and modern DevSecOps capabilities that can accelerate the path to Authority to Operate (ATO).
New services in Azure Government Top Secret such as Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Functions, and Azure App Service enable mission owners working with highly sensitive data to deliver modern innovation such as containerized applications, serverless workloads with automated and flexible scaling, and web apps supported by built-in infrastructure maintenance and security patching.
Azure Government Top Secret also takes care of data residency and connectivity across storage solutions spread across geographically separated regions. It offers greater resiliency in terms of availability and backups as well.
Microsoft has highlighted that given the top secret nature of the infrastructure it is handling, cybersecurity is obviously at the forefront. A global team of cybersecurity experts works with trillions of signals each day and analyzes it with the help of AI. In the same vein, Azure Security Center and Azure Sentinel can integrate directly with security endpoints too. Microsoft has emphasized that it will continue collaborating with mission owners across all their data classifications to further enhance Azure Government Top Secret.