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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Federally-recognized tribal governments all have different, but equally important, roles in helping citizens lead healthy and productive lives. HHS and DOL alone are made up of more than 30 departments among them, thus demanding seamless and crucial collaboration and efficiency in helping each agency meet its mission.

Move to the Cloud at The Department of Health and Human Services
Today, InfoReliance, a technology consulting firm and Microsoft partner, announced a cloud service Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) to InfoReliance to move the Department of HHS’s email application and collaboration services to the Microsoft Office 365 solution that is hosted in a Government Community Cloud (GCC). HHS has established a blanket purchase agreement to support its move of approximately 125,000 seats to cloud-based email. Additionally, this agreement will enable standardization on Microsoft’s Office 365 collaboration framework for content management and unified communications.

By deploying Microsoft Office 365 in a GCC at HHS, all of the operating and staffing divisions will be able to unify systems, enabling employees to collaborate across each department more efficiently and effectively. As an example, when public health outbreaks and emergencies occur, many disparate operating divisions of HHS are involved in the response efforts. While these operating divisions have different missions and responsibilities, much of the data, correspondence and activities are similar. The move to Office 365 will provide greater efficiency in managing cross-division processes, including data and analytics, as well as documentation management and reporting.

Furthermore, through skills and people search capabilities, the platform will enable public health workers across HHS to broaden their effectiveness by identifying specialists and teams to support response efforts. For instance, once individuals and teams are identified by skills and certifications, they can collaborate through an integrated email, calendar, content management and unified communication solution, all under the HHS umbrella. This new collaborative framework will provide a dramatic reduction in cost across the department, while providing the tools and solutions to promote public health, scientific research, citizen awareness, preparedness and response.

Clouds Sweep Across Federal Government
At other Federal agencies such as the Department of Labor (DOL), the move to a centralized infrastructure has formed the underlying foundation for a successful move to an enterprise-wide Office 365 cloud email system. InfoReliance has led the deployment of cloud-based email at DOL under an Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for cloud services. DOL Deputy CIO, Dawn Leaf, is directing the effort to successfully consolidate nine legacy email systems to one cloud email as a service approach.

Additionally, many U.S. tribal governments are choosing to consolidate their systems and take advantage of the Microsoft Office 365 Government Community Cloud to run the government of the tribes. Tribal governments like the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi rely on Office 365, in tight partnership with Dynamics CRM, to consolidate the communications around citizen services, such as health care, education, and housing.

FedRAMP ATO Has Security at the Core
Across the Federal government, the vast majority of Cabinet-level agencies in whole or in part are moving to Office 365. These agencies can trust that their solution is helping them keep sensitive data private and secure.

Indeed, we announced that Microsoft Office 365 Government Community Cloud solution has been granted an agency Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Authority to Operate (ATO) from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). Now, customers have the assurance that Office 365 meets the necessary security assessments to move to the cloud with confidence. To learn more about the FedRAMP ATO news, please head on over to the Office blog.

This FedRAMP announcement complements the Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB) that we achieved for the Microsoft Azure public cloud offering last year. Our platform, which includes infrastructure, platform, and software services, was the first to receive this level of FedRAMP compliance.

At Microsoft, we understand the unique technology demands of our federal, tribal, state and local government customers. We are committed to providing the most complete government cloud the industry has to offer – from software-as-a-service to platform and infrastructure-as-a-service needs.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Greg Myers, Vice President of Microsoft Federal | 20 November 2014