The following post is from Greg Myers, Vice President, Microsoft Federal.
On Tuesday in Washington D.C., federal technology leaders are gathering – in person and virtually – for Microsoft’s Federal Executive Forum. This annual one-day event brings together people from around the federal government to discuss how technology is helping agencies successfully innovate, leverage the most of existing investments and manage to very tight fiscal constraints. It’s a time for collaboration among agencies, sharing best practices and addressing everything from change management to leveraging what they already own to mastering cloud migration.
Here are just a few highlights of what we’re talking about at Tuesday’s event, showing that agencies around the federal government are using Microsoft technology to have a real impact:
- Mobility and Devices – Since we launched Windows 8 last year, we’ve seen significant progress in all form factor areas of devices. Over the next year, tablet-styled devices will out ship almost all other PC form factors, combined, making up almost 50 percent of the total PC market of desktops, notebooks and tablets. So, whether it is agencies looking to upgrade to ensure their employees can be mobile on the job, or newly-enabled applications that speed up customer service and case management, the Windows 8.1 family of devices can meet an astonishing array of challenges, all with unmatched flexibility, form and function. Today, we’re showcasing a variety of form factors, all with an out-of-the-box focus on security.
- Private Preview of the Azure government cloud – Last fall, we announced that Microsoft was going to create a cloud specifically for our government customers. Our progress has been significant in building on Windows commercial Azure capabilities to meet discrete needs of government customers. The Azure government cloud will have physical and logical isolation at all layers, it will be run by U.S. personnel with government background investigations and follow defense-in-depth, multi-level security practices. Today, we’re announcing that Azure government cloud private previews are taking place, as we work with customers to identify the workloads that best meet their key scenarios. Following these private previews, we’ll move to a limited public preview. This is in addition to our public Azure cloud offering, which already is FedRAMP certified.
In many ways, it’s a great time to be leading the IT Transformation period for agencies. From the advances available for a mobile workforce, to connecting with the world’s data and turning it into valuable insights to simplifying collaboration for employees and even giving agencies a new digital personality – the opportunities for leadership are rich. Yet the challenges are great too and require leaders who can step up to address increasing and diverse cyber threats, manage real privacy concerns and do all of this within an environment where the financial pressures are only increasing.
That’s why from mobility to cloud computing to line of business applications, many federal government customers are recognizing the importance of fully leveraging the portfolio that Microsoft has to offer. Agencies know they need a strategic partner who understands their needs, realities and requirements. This includes the ability to use new platforms like the cloud while making it easier to manage and simplify how it’s paid for. Microsoft’s Azure platform, for example, supports open standards and offerings including Hadoop, Linux, WordPress and Oracle workloads.
As agencies explore moves to the cloud, many may have solutions already in place, and they need a partner who can help them leverage those, lower security risks and reduce training and implementation costs. In some cases, agencies may often be looking at some new combination of private cloud or even public or dedicated community cloud for government. Our hybrid cloud gives complex government environments the flexibility of working with us on their terms and within their architecture choice. Instead of coming to the table with predisposed ideas of what is best for each agency, we work with our agency customers to create and build the solutions that best meet their needs. From productivity, messaging and collaboration to CRM, storage, development and even virtual machines – Microsoft’s cloud offerings have not only already been tested across government enterprises and the largest commercial operations, but also meet and exceed the security and privacy compliance bars – from FedRAMP and ISO27001 to CJIS, HIPAA, and beyond.
If you are interested in following the action today’s Federal Forum, you can attend the event virtually.