A look inside a Microsoft data center in Cheyenne, Wyo. (Microsoft Photo)

Federal agencies will be able to use any region of Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing footprint in the United States to host applications and use cloud services now that Microsoft has completed a stringent federal certification process, the company announced Thursday.

Microsoft Azure now meets the FedRAMP High impact standard in all of its U.S cloud computing regions, not just the special Azure Government regions set up for that purpose a few years ago. That gives many federal agencies a little more flexibility when deciding how and where to host their applications, although agencies working on the most sensitive topics will still be required to use Azure Government.

The FedRAMP process is rather involved, and vital for any tech company that wants to do business with the federal government, which spent more than $95 billion on information technology products and services in 2018. That’s incentive enough to go through the years-long certification process, but such certifications also help cloud sales teams convince companies that are thinking about ditching their own data centers vouch for their security practices.

And it’s one of the final steps in an all-out press by Microsoft to get ready for the U.S. Department of Defense’s JEDI contact, which will award up to $10 billion over 10 years to either Amazon Web Services or Microsoft to build a next-generation cloud service for the Pentagon. A decision on that contract is expected to be announced in July.





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