Microsoft becomes ‘certified strategic’ cloud provider

Microsoft has become the fifth cloud service provider authorized to transport protected-level public sector data under the federal government’s hosting certification framework.

The tech giant quietly joined Amazon Web Services, Vault Cloud, Sliced ‚Äč‚ÄčTech, and AUCloud as a ‘strategic certified’ service provider last week, nearly two months after the first providers were certified.

The certified strategy is the highest level of assurance in the framework, which was introduced to “mitigate data center and supply chain ownership risks.”

Hosting providers certified at this level have allowed the government to specify ownership and control conditions, as opposed to the lesser ‘certified insured service provider’ certification.

All protected-level data and government-wide systems data will need to be stored by certified strategic service providers or certified insured as of July 2022.

However, the Digital Transformation Agency has yet to certify any service provider or data center at the assured certified level.

Agencies can also use non-certified service providers for “non-sensitive data, or when their internal risk assessment determines that it is appropriate to do so.”

A Microsoft spokesperson said iTnews that the certification establishes a “new watermark” for the company’s cloud services in all three Australian regions.

“More than 180 of our major online services, including Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365 and Azure, are now certified under the framework,” the spokesperson said..

Microsoft’s certification as a certified strategic vendor comes after the government’s Microsoft volume supply deal grew by more than $ 600 million in five months.

As revealed iTnews, the deal with Microsoft’s exclusive licensing reseller, Data # 3, is now valued at $ 809 million over six years, more than eight times its value in 2019.

In addition to Microsoft, the DTA has also certified the DCI Data Center facilities in Sydney under the framework.

DCI Data Centers also has a data center in Melbourne, and last month revealed plans to build a facility in Darwin.

Other data centers to be certified to date include Canberra Data Centers, Macquarie Telecom, Australian Data Centers, NEXTDC, Equinix, and Fujitsu.

Panelists on the government data center deal were the first to be eligible for certification in April, while ‘indirect’ providers such as cloud providers began applying in September.

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