US Air Force Takes To The Cloud With Office 365

Microsoft / Security / Tech

United States Air Force. Cloud computing. The pun-filled headlines virtually write themselves. However we’ll try to refrain from being too punny.

Last week, the Air Force, in partnership with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), announced that it awarded more than 100,000 seats of a Department of Defense dedicated version of Microsoft Office 365 to Microsoft, Dell and General Dynamics.

As part of the deployment, which will begin in the next government fiscal year, the Air Force will have access to secure e-mail, calendaring, Office Web Applications, Skype for Business, and other important collaboration tools, helping the agency communicate more easily across active, civilian, and reserve personnel and move toward a consolidated mobile and messaging platform. Just as important, the Air Force anticipates that the migration will help it realign critical resources to better support its mission in a trusted cloud environment.

As noted in the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) Strategic Plan, cloud computing plays an increasingly vital role in the DoD. Its ability to provide agile capabilities and real-time access to data is constantly enhancing the DoD’s decision-making skills and daily operations.

The agreement has the potential to scale up in reach and is expected to help the Air Force and DLA significantly reduce costs over the next three years. According to Microsoft, the agreement is one of the largest commercial cloud contracts in Department of Defense history.

As the Microsoft release noted, the deal is part of Microsoft’s Cloud for Government solution and supports the DoD’s unique security requirements and best practices. As such, I imagine it is slightly more secured and hardened than your average student version of Office 365. So while the Navy is paying extra to receive continued support for Windows XP, the Air Force is taking off into the Cloud. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

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  Source: Microsoft
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