Microsoft gains cloud security certification … six months after Google

Microsoft has received FISMA certification for its cloud computing data centers, a key step toward gaining customers in the federal governmen

Microsoft has received FISMA certification for its cloud computing data centers, a key step toward gaining customers in the federal government market that has been infiltrated by rival Google. However, Microsoft's hosted Exchange and Online services have not yet been awarded FISMA approval.

Just this week, Google scored a major win when the U.S. General Services Administration announced plans to become the first federal agency to move all of its e-mail and collaboration tools to a cloud-based service, specifically Google Apps.

Also read: Microsoft's cloud-based Exchange, SharePoint still stuck in 2007

Microsoft said it was "disappointed" in the GSA's decision, and accused Google of "adding random functionality" without meeting real business requirements.

However, it was Google that gained approval under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) in July, well before Microsoft.

While the GSA announced its move to Google on Wednesday, Microsoft announced its own compliance with FISMA on Thursday in a blog post written by risk and compliance director Mark Estberg.

"Meeting the requirements of FISMA is an important security requirement for U.S. federal agencies," Estberg wrote. The certification, called an "authorization to operate," was issued specifically to Microsoft's Global Foundation Services organization.

The GFS "provides a trustworthy foundation for the company's cloud services, including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online," Microsoft said. However, Exchange and SharePoint themselves are still "currently in the FISMA certification and accreditation process."

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that "Exchange and SharePoint Online have not yet received FISMA approval but are in the process of doing so. Microsoft's cloud infrastructure (data centers) is what received FISMA approval."

GFS's Online Services Security & Compliance team has previously obtained ISO 27001 certification and SAS 70 Type II attestation.

"We have also gone beyond the ISO standard, which includes some 150 security controls and developed over 300 security controls to account for the unique challenges of the cloud infrastructure and what it takes to mitigate some of the risks involved," Estberg writes. "The additional rigorous testing and continuous monitoring required by FISMA have already been incorporated into our overall information security program."

Estburg also said Microsoft's cloud features "highly-focused testing and monitoring, automated patch delivery, cost-saving economies of scale, and ongoing security improvements."

Microsoft has recently rebranded its cloud services under the name "Office 365," which is now in beta and includes Microsoft Office, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync Online and other services. The upgraded service will reach general availability in the first half of 2011.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags cloud computingMicrosoftinternetGooglesoftwareData Centerhardware systemsConfiguration / maintenance

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?