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Microsoft unveils Azure Government Secret to help U.S. agencies handle classified data

Microsoft unveils Azure Government Secret to help U.S. agencies handle classified data

Tom Krazit

More and more government agencies are realizing the benefits of cloud computing, and Microsoft is poised to unveil several new updates to its cloud services for government customers Tuesday at its Government Cloud Forum.

Microsoft currently operates six cloud computing regions dedicated specifically to government customers, and supports the U.S. Department of Defense with two of those regions. Working with the government requires satisfying a host of security requirements, and a new service called Azure Government Secret will allow other agencies with strict protocols for the handling of classified information to use Azure services, said Tom Keane, head of global infrastructure for Microsoft Azure.

Azure Government Secret builds on the announcement earlier this year that Azure was cleared to serve agencies at Impact Level 5 of the Defense Information System Agency's cloud security requirements, the second-highest level of classification. But the DoD is not the only government agency that handles sensitive information, and the new service will allow agencies working on topics classified as "Secret? in fields like energy research or law enforcement greater access to cloud computing services like artificial intelligence and translation, Keane said.

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