Microsoft’s Government Cloud Computing (GCC) is used by federal, state, and local governments as well as counterparties that consume or produce government data subject to regulatory requirements. Successful migrations require partners that understand and have experience working within GCC, and the intricacies of its licensing.
What is the Microsoft Government Community Cloud?
Government technology, compliance, and security requirements are typically more stringent than that of private-sector business. For this reason, Microsoft created a separate environment with unique versions of its software and services that address the specific needs of the public sector.
Microsoft GCC takes the guesswork out of configuration, security, and controls to help you meet NIST, DFARS, and FEDRamp compliance, allowing government IT departments to concentrate on their business objectives.
GCC and GCC High are only available to U.S.-based government customers. Other government plans are available to those located outside of the United States.
The options: GCC, GCC High and Department of Defence (DOD).
All versions of GCC offer a standard set of features and functionality that complies with federal, criminal justice, and federal tax information systems requirements.
GCC High is typically 40% more expensive than typical Microsoft GCC license costs as it complies with a more stringent additional set of requirements:
- Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations
- Department of Defense Security Requirements Guidelines
- International Traffic in Arms Regulations
- The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Compliance framework (CMMC)
As one would expect, standard GCC typically sees new features sooner than GCC High and DOD, and in some cases includes features like Yammer that might never make it into GCC High and DOD.
Which does my organization need?
The good news is that majority of our public sector clients do not require GCC High. Even fewer require DOD. That said, its best to review with a partner experienced in determining which plan fits your needs and requirements.
That said, Not every organization connected to or part of the government needs GCC or GCC High and DOD. To determine whether it is necessary requires an understanding of the features that are above and beyond non-GCC Office 365 functionality.
For GCC and GCC High and DOD, these include:
- Logical segregation of commercial customer content from GCC content.
- The organization’s data is stored in the united states.
- Only security screened Microsoft personnel is allowed to access the organization’s data.
- Certification and accreditation compliance with U.S. Public sector customers.
We need GCC or GCC High or DOD, now what?
If you haven’t done so all ready, you will need to apply for validation as a type 3 entity with Microsoft by providing basic information, such as which category or government entity you are, your website, and address. Microsoft will confirm your organization’s eligibility through this process.
Getting Ready to Deploy - What Features are and are not available?
Whether you are moving over from a completely different service or just a different edition of Microsoft 365, these differences could impact day-to-day processes and systems. Understanding feature availability is one of the best ways to prepare and adjust.
Some excellent information detailing Office 365 services and availability for each offering can be found by following this link
Governance from the start is a must
Any organization moving to GCC must have a plan for governance. The first step in this process is identifying and documenting all of the governance requirements. Once done, you can then map these to the features and settings to ensure compliance.
Enlist a Partner to Guide You
SkyNorth is one of a few Microsoft partners in the Midwest with experience implementing GCC securely in both large and small organizations.
Our experience results in a much faster, smoother, and more cost-effective deployment than our competitors. You don’t need to take our word for it. We’ll happily provide a reference from one of your peers.
If you’re interested in discussing further click here to email us to set up a free consultation