Microsoft officials announced Tuesday that the company had achieved the required security levels to host secret U.S. military and intelligence data on its could computer network, Azure, and claimed they were on track to to host “top secret” information soon. The developments put the computer giant in closer competition with cloud rival Amazon to handle the government’s most delicate and important information and perhaps to vie for the Pentagon’s coveted nearly $10 billion cloud contract known as JEDI.
Microsoft offers a variety of services for Azure customers allowing them to use their cloud data from machine learning to artificial intelligence and analytics, in addition to media tools and integration with Internet of Things devices.
Within months, government agencies and workers could run their secret data through those applications.
“We’re taking our public cloud Azure and sending our FedRamp moderate coverage to cover 50 of those services,” said Julia White, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure, referring to cybersecurity framework for cloud hosting for government. “By the end of the calendar year, those 50 services will have FedRamphigh certification.”
The Defense Department amended its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract Thursday, adding context to numerous industry questions on pricing, objectives, definitions and small business participation that were included in the final request for proposals thatwent out to bid in July. “We are excited at the continued level of interest in JEDI Cloud and appreciate industry's participation in the solicitation process,” the Pentagon said in the update. “Since we feel that industry's participation is vital, we are providing a second, limited question and answer opportunity.”
For many years, the cloud quadrille of Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, Google Cloud and IBM SmartCloud has been engaging in rounds of fierce price wars in a bid to dominate both market share and mindshare. The cloud race has also frequently featured a healthy dose of ivory tower jousting and demagoguery.
Silicon Valley companies have something the Pentagon wants: remarkable artificial intelligence capabilities. Since the DoD doesn’t have the means to develop this technology itself, it has to purchase it from somewhere. It’s a natural partnership for an increasingly Orwellian age.
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