- Microsoft announced Tuesday plans to open two Azure data center regions intended for the United States Department of Defense, labeling them US DoD East and US DoD West.
- The company is vying to offer cloud services to the federal government, but first it has to earn specific certifications to ensure that its Azure Government is capable of handling high security government data on the cloud.
- FedRAMP is a set federal government requirements companies that wish to handle the government's high security data and workloads in the cloud must meet. Microsoft said Tuesday it expects to receive such certifications within the next month.
The new certifications Microsoft is seeking are pivotal as the federal government continues its push to the cloud. Last month the Obama administration released its fiscal 2017 budget, which includes $7.3 billion for cloud services.
In its announcement Tuesday, Microsoft said it requested a Provisional Authority to Operate certification for the High Impact Baseline program from FedRamp, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.
A new FedRAMP classification, the certificate would prove that Azure can handle high security government data on the cloud.
The certifications and the data center would allow Microsoft to better compete with companies already approved to host government data, like IBM. Last month, the Department of Defense granted IBM approval to start hosting the agency's highest security levels of controlled unclassified information. IBM is the first cloud service provider with a direct connection to the DOD’s Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router network, the agency's unclassified communications network.