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Microsoft Readies Dynamics CRM and Azure for Government Users

Microsoft is beefing up its public sector cloud services, announcing a new Dynamics CRM Online offering for government users and expanding access to its Azure government cloud preview.

The Dynamics CRM Online government cloud will become generally available in early 2015, said Curt Kolcun, vice president of U.S. public sector at Microsoft, in a blog post on Wednesday.

"[T]he service will allow customers to leverage their existing Microsoft investment on premises and in the cloud through hybrid cloud capabilities including integration with the Azure and Office 365 government community clouds," he said.

The Dynamics CRM Online government cloud will comply with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), which provides a standardized framework for monitoring and securing cloud services used by U.S. government agencies. It will let government employees access their applications and workflows from mobile devices. It will also let private individuals access information about government services and events, as well as perform transactions like pay fines, fill out permit applications and log reports.

Microsoft also announced it is expanding the preview program for its Azure government cloud. Until now, the service was available only as a private preview to select customers and partners. On Wednesday, Microsoft said it is "expanding the preview to more partner and customer solutions and workloads."

Microsoft is accepting requests from government solution partners to participate in the preview program at AzureGov@Microsoft.com.

First announced in October 2013, the Azure government cloud is designed to support the security workloads of U.S. federal agencies. Azure is already FedRAMP-certified, but as an additional security precaution, the government cloud's datacenters in Des Moines, Iowa, and Boydton, Va., are isolated from other Azure public cloud datacenters and are operated by pre-screened U.S. government employees. The servers used will only house data from other government agencies.

Partners Schneider Electric and InfoReliance, as well as the Illinois Department of Corrections, are early users of the Azure government cloud, Microsoft said.

These government-focused cloud announcements come less than a week before the start of Microsoft's 2014 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which will take place in Washington, D.C. In a blog post Wednesday, Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Channel, said the Azure and Dynamics CRM Online government cloud offerings will be among the services Microsoft will highlight at WPC, which kicks off on July 13.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.