Microsoft Office 365 Government Secret Cloud, a secure environment for the company’s flagship collaboration tool, is now generally available.
In an announcement (opens in new tab) on the Microsoft 365 (M365) Blog, Microsoft claimed that the release, which offers especially secure variants of email clients Exchange and Outlook alongside its office software suite, brings a level of security and compliance to its productivity tools suitable for government use.
The clearest application of the new environment for M365 is to keep data secure. Microsoft admits that the bulk of government data is stored via on-prem servers, but believes its latest release means this work can now move exclusively to cloud storage via its software as a service.
M365 is now the only set of business productivity tools to offer “an Impact Level 6 (IL6) (opens in new tab) environment”, a data handling protocol designed by the Department of Defense’s Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), to protect cloud-stored data in the hands of government agencies all the way “up to the SECRET level”.
This allows M365 Government Secret Cloud to bring “cloud based collaboration and communication” to classified environments which, according to Microsoft, is another first.
The company can feel confident in making that claim, with M365’s new capabilities bolstering the efforts of Azure Government Secret and Top Secret, “air-gapped” regions of its cloud infrastructure offering tightened security and increased data visibility.
Announcing Azure Government Top Secret (opens in new tab) in August 2021, Microsoft pitched the unique Azure regions to “mission leaders”, claiming that it would enable them to draw insights from data faster and offer “unified cybersecurity capabilities” to protect the nation’s most critical data.