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Secure Government Cloud Operations with Microsoft Azure Government

Arctic IT News, Articles and Events

February 10, 2022

Choosing a government cloud provider

Every layer of government is somewhere in the complex decision-making process balancing how technology security and agility support their mission of public service. Agencies at the federal, state, and local levels are asking their IT departments to make plans to move to the cloud. But not every cloud service is designed with the security and agility required by the public sector as its core focus.

When considering the move to modernize in the cloud, consider these key attributes when choosing a cloud provider:

  • Flexibility – Choose a solution that allows you to spin up applications quickly and works to support both cloud and on-premises assets
  • Scalability – Meet your agency’s need by expanding and retracting as your services change/grow
  • Cost-effectiveness – Pay for only what you use
  • Security – Security is built-in at every level
  • Exclusive access – Ensure the solution is offered only to U.S. government entities

Microsoft Azure Government Cloud

In partnership with the U.S. Government, Microsoft has developed their cloud portfolio to meet the security needs of the nation while empowering leaders to innovate securely across all data classifications. The Azure Government Cloud is a collection of eight data centers located in strategic regions throughout the United States.

The Azure Government Cloud offers industry-leading, secure services for government organizations of all sizes. Most recently, the flexibility and scalability of the Azure Government Cloud allowed government entities to meet the modernization challenge during the pandemic, which demanded acceleration. There is no slow-down in sight – the Government Cloud market is expected to grow from $22.86 billion in 2020 to $59.75 billion by 2026.

The Government Cloud checks all the boxes when it comes to security and exclusivity for government operations. Azure Government Cloud features two classified regions; Azure Government Secret and Azure Government Top Secret – designed to protect sensitive data under national security standards. All three Government Cloud regions operate under strict physical and network security and are run solely by U.S. citizens.

Azure Government Azure Government Secret Azure Government Top Secret
DoD Impact Level 4 (IL4) DoD Impact Level 6 (IL6) ICD 503
DoD Impact Level 5 (IL5) ICD 503 ICD 705
FedRAMP High JSIG (PL-3) JSIG (PL-3)
ITAR, DFARS
IRS 1075, CJIS, HIPAA

 

Azure Government Data Centers

Azure meets high compliance certifications that are not available on-premises and has more compliance certifications than any other cloud provider. Physical control, logical control and network control ensure your organization experiences the highest level of secure cloud access.

Azure Government also offers Express Route connectivity, which are dedicated circuits that provide yet another layer of security. These private, direct connections are the onramp to high-speed secure data centers with Microsoft.

Did you know? Azure Government serves the largest number of Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) states, covering about two-thirds the population of the U.S.

CJIS States population served by Azure Government

Let’s take a deeper look at how the Azure Government Cloud supports the public sector

  • High Compliance. Microsoft invests $1B a year in their Security Operations Center along with 93 worldwide compliance offerings. What does this mean for you locally? These high bars of compliance throughout the world are now accessible for even the smallest of government entities.
  • Flexibility. There is no more flexible environment than Azure. Virtual machines, development and test environments, and Azure SQL are resources you can turn on when you need them, expand them as the project grows, then power them down easily.
  • Modern Infrastructure. Azure Government empowers organizations with advanced data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), IoT, and high-performance computing. You can digitally transform the way your organization interacts with citizens and analyze smart devices in real-time to improve and optimize emergency services. Predictive models help you take preemptive action against security threats as they emerge.
  • Analytics at Scale. The data warehouse in Azure integrates data from multiple sources securely and helps achieve capabilities you couldn’t have made possible before. This data-centric play and transformation for government gives your agency the ability to collaborate, so leaders can make decisions that impact lives.
  • Advanced Security. Heighten your security posture with the Azure Security Center. Set policies and compliance controls while managing your cloud security in one intuitive dashboard. Azure Government offers hybrid flexibility, so it protects and monitors the health of all your servers – regardless of whether they are in Azure or on-premises.
  • Migration Support Tools. Azure Migrate provides a central hub for your all datacenter cloud migration needs. It can help you discover machines in your environment, assess your existing server and database estate, and migrate in seconds with little to no downtime. This is a great native built-in tool to help you navigate what needs to be remediated before migration.
  • Site Recovery. Azure Site Recovery is another built-in tool for disaster recovery that provides a safe place to store your assets during migration.
  • Optimized Workloads. Microsoft provides free options to help you manage costs and security to ensure your Azure servers, databases and applications are secure and well managed. Get the most out of your cloud investment with:
    • Azure Advisor – a free service in Azure that helps you analyze your Azure resources for improved security, availability, cost and performance
    • Azure Architecture Center – a collection of best practices to help you move an existing workload from on-premises to the cloud or design or new workload
    • Azure Logic Apps – apps to assist you in automating workloads for even more optimization. This helps determine how you are going to consume the data
  • Cost Savings. The most compelling reason to choose Microsoft Azure is the short and long-term cost savings. The savings provided by Azure are proven. According to the Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ Study: Microsoft Azure IaaS conducted in 2019, Azure customers achieved $10M in savings by avoiding on-premises infrastructure and staff costs – and saw a 478% 3-year return on investment.

Modernizing operations in the Azure Government Cloud is easier with a partner who’s been at the leading edge of the Azure Government Cloud. Arctic IT, a Microsoft Gold Partner and government cloud provider, helps federal, state, local and tribal governments innovate, gain efficiencies, and improve their security posture with Azure. We will help you develop a business case that aligns with your mission.

Contact us today to get started on your journey to cloud innovation.

By Rachel Duggins, Director of Federal Business at Arctic IT