Skip to content

Microsoft launches ’top secret’ Azure cloud region for US intelligence community

Would you like to recommend this contribution? This can be done via:

Microsoft continues to deliver on its pledge to provide cloud services to the US government that are compliant with all strengths of data classification
Microsoft has set live an “air-gapped” Azure cloud region that is specifically designed to house and process top secret data for the US intelligence community.

The software giant confirmed in a blog post that it has received clearance, in the form of an Authorisation to Operate (ATO) order in accordance with the US Intelligence Community Directive, for its Azure Government Top Secret region to be made generally available for its intended users.

The region is going live with an initial roll-call of 60 Azure cloud services, with Microsoft confirming that more will be added as time goes on, as it works with the US intelligence community to help more of its agencies and bodies move to the cloud.

“These new air-gapped regions of Azure will accelerate the delivery of national security workloads classified at the US Top Secret level,” said Tom Keane, corporate vice-president for Microsoft Azure Global, in the blog post.

“Whether in sea, land, air, space or cyber space, today’s mission leaders face a common set of challenges – how to make sense of an unprecedented influx of data from many disparate sources, how to modernise existing infrastructure to enable agility today and tomorrow, and how to protect data, assets and people across a rapidly evolving threat landscape.”

The creation of the region is part of Microsoft’s strategy to provide cloud services to US government customers across all data classifications, with the company stating that it had worked in “close collaboration” with the US intelligence community, the US Department of Defense (DoD) and various federal civilian agencies to refine its offerings for them.

On this point, the company said its Azure development teams also work “shoulder-to-shoulder” with its customers and partners in the intelligence space to they can use its cloud regions to “harness data at speed and scale for operational advantage and increased efficiency”.

“Protecting our nation from rapidly evolving threats is a critical priority,” continued Keane. “Microsoft brings together massive signal depth and diversity of over 8 trillion signals per day combined with cutting-edge [artificial intelligence], machine learning, and a global team of security experts to delivery unparalleled protection.”

News of the region’s launch comes at a time when Microsoft is in the throes of contesting the outcome of a $10bn cloud contract with the US National Security Agency (NSA), which was awarded to its public cloud rival Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Microsoft claims the NSA failed to conduct a “proper evaluation” before awarding the deal to AWS, and has gone on to lodge a bid protest with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) to contest the deal.

This marks the second time the two cloud giants have found themselves at loggerheads over a $10bn cloud contract, after AWS decided to protest a decision by the DoD to award its decade-long Joint Enterprise Defence Infrastructure (JEDI) to Microsoft.

As reported by Computer Weekly last month, the single-supplier JEDI contract has now been shelved, after the DoD confirming at the time that it is to be replaced with a new contract that would favour the use multiple suppliers, with technologies from both AWS and Microsoft set to feature.

Also read:

EasyComp Host launches renewed website with doubled server capacity and lower prices!

We are proud to announce that EasyComp Host has launched a revamped website with even more powerful hosting options. In addition to our new website, we have doubled the capacity of our server rack, and we are completely under our own management. This means that we are able to keep our prices as low as possible while continuing to provide our customers with the best service. As a result, we are able to offer up to 5x more than was previously the case, and all for a Zeeland price!

Subpostmaster campaigning forces government to set up compensation scheme and make interim payments

Subpostmaster campaign group is a step closer to achieving what it was originally set up to do as government launches compensation scheme for its members who did not receive fair payouts

UK tech has 2.8% gender ‘wage gap’, says Hired

The wage offered to women for tech jobs in the UK is 2.8% less than offered to male counterparts – a larger gap than in the US and Canada, says Hired

Government won’t regulate on professional cyber standards

The government has elected not to proceed with regulatory intervention to embed standards and pathways across the cyber profession

Two-thirds of UK organisations defrauded since start of pandemic

Nearly two out of three UK companies say they have experienced some form of fraud or economic crime in the past two years, according to a report

Hydrogen’s promise: How fuel cells might power lower-carbon datacentres

Could UK datacentre operators soon adopt emerging hydrogen technologies to reach expanding energy and emissions requirements?

Would you like to recommend this contribution? This can be done via:

Klaar voor de beste oplossing voor uw IT & ICT-situatie?

Ik heb mijn wachtwoord gewijzigd in “onjuist.” Dus wanneer ik vergeet wat het is, zal de computer zeggen: “Uw wachtwoord is onjuist.”