Microsoft to offer top-secret cloud platform for classified data

The Pentagon

Microsoft has announced the launch of its newest cloud offering: Azure Government Top Secret.

The new cloud service expands Microsoft’s tactical edge portfolio for the US government, including Azure (public cloud), Azure Government, and Azure Government Secret. Microsoft has tailored Azure Government Top Secret for its US government customers that work with classified information.

“Azure Government Top Secret provides the same capabilities as the commercial version of Azure, Azure Government and Azure Government Secret to enable a continuum of compute from mission cloud to tactical edge,” said Tom Keane, corporate vice president of Azure global.

“The broad range of services will meet the demand for greater agility in the classified space, including the need to gain deeper insights from data sourced from any location as well as the need to enable the rapid expansion of remote work.”

According to reports, Microsoft is working with the US government to secure accreditation for its new cloud. In the meantime, it’s already completed the build out of the Azure Government Top Secret regions.

This announcement comes amid ongoing court battles over the Department of Defense’s (DOD) $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract. The DOD awarded the whole contract to Microsoft, bypassing Amazon Web Services and spurring the company to launch a lawsuit.

Microsoft also announced enhancements to its Azure Government Secret service, authorized and actively used by the US Department of Defense, law enforcement, and other agencies.

According to Microsoft, Azure Government Secret will now include Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Azure Container Instances. The additions aim to help application developers deploy and manage containerized applications more easily.

Intelligent security analytics services Azure Sentinel and Azure Security Center are also now available in Azure Government Secret, enabling unified security across digital estates and facilitating proactive threat management.

“The consistency between Azure (commercial), Azure Government, and Azure Government Secret is also starting to change the game as software development may happen from anywhere, while the code itself can be promoted to enclaves with higher classification levels. There it can interact with data of higher classification levels. At the end of the day, this means doing more for the mission at a lower overall cost," said Carroll Moon, CTO of CloudFit Software.