Microsoft Releases Version of Office 365 for the U.S. Government

Microsoft, the world’s number one software major, has developed a version of its online package of productivity tools for U.S. officials. This exclusive edition of Office 365 for the U.S. government is a new multi-tenant service that stores data in the cloud.

Microsoft has been on the back burner for a while releasing their own versions of consumer and professional services trying to keep up with Google. But the latest cloud version helps the company keep up with other cloud-based technologies provides by rivals like Google, Amazon and others.

Like other deals that Microsoft has on their products, this version includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online, as well option to purchase Office Professional Plus for local use. Compare this with Google Apps for Government, which provides Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, and video.

“Office 365 for Government is a new multi-tenant service that stores US government data in a segregated community cloud. Like other Office 365 offerings, it includes productivity and collaboration services including Exchange Online, Lync Online, SharePoint Online, and Office Professional Plus.  Customers can contact their Microsoft representative for details and to explore the service,” said Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office Division.

Complaint with Microsoft’s other cloud product, Businesses Productivity Online Suite, Office 365 for cloud service meets a lot of certifications, including SAS70 Type II, Portable Health Insurance U.S., HIPAA, ISO 27001, EU Safe Harbor, EU Model Clauses, the US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), EU Model Clauses, and the US Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

“Office 365 for Enterprises and Government offer the same level of functionality: Both offer a FISMA package and have best-in-class security, transparency, and compliance features,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. “The difference is that Office 365 for Government has a segregated infrastructure for US government customers. If the customer has no special need to be in a tenant community that only has other US Government tenants, then we recommend staying in our Enterprise cloud. If customer has a special regulatory need to migrate, we will help them do so.”

Microsoft said the services are already use in state and local governments including California, Minnesota, San Francisco, Newark, and Plano. For those with more specialized needs, Microsoft provides additional options including adequate infrastructure and local hosting partners.

Microsoft, like its rivals Google, Amazon and others, is racing to put its cloud software in compliance with government safety regulations. Office 365 for Government is the chance for Microsoft to regain their hold on the government cloud market segment.

Google has been in business for a while with their applications Google for Government program. It has the support of the major parties, such as Orlando, Florida and Los Angeles. More recently, the program was picked up by the city of Edmonton, Alberta.

Microsoft has been pushing Office 365 very aggressive in recent months after moving out to the cloud last year. The latest offering is the response from Redmond after Google signed a lucrative contract of $35 million with the Department of the Interior in exchange for offering its office solutions in the cloud.

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