August 10, 2020 Microsoft 365, GCC and DISA Level 2 Introduction The enterprise environment in which defense agencies operate must rapidly adapt to the digital changes that take place in the world. Military advances have given rise to a gigantic volume of complex and highly sensitive data. As such, managing and protecting information effectively becomes a pressing issue for defense agencies. Also, complexities in data management tend to divert people from their core mission. On the other side, intelligence gathering and collaboration with allies and other users anytime, anywhere, and using any device are paramount for warfighters to maintain a tactical edge in the battlefield which only the latest in cloud innovation can deliver. Cloud benefits to Military As governments are increasingly capitalizing on the cloud, the US Department of Defense (DoD) is no exception. Cloud computing helps in achieving superiority in battlefield operations by optimizing operational processes and effectiveness. The non-siloed infrastructure of cloud computing allows agencies to be better connected moving beyond their segregated systems to an agile, flexible, and scalable environment. Let us quickly discuss five priorities that defense agencies need to address before adopting a solution that can revamp their strength and security: 1. Speed, cost, and agility Defense agencies need to take action with speed and agility. Old siloed systems are not patchable for the latest security software. Some lack stringent security protection while some lack efficient backup power and backup storage. When data is moved into the cloud, defense infrastructure turns resilient. Additionally, it is a simpler, more cost-effective, and potentially more secure option than on-premises systems. 2. Data Supremacy Data is the lifeblood of all operations. Ideally, it must flow freely and securely across organizational borders. Cloud computing can facilitate the secure transmission of confidential data across missions, between forces, and among allies, making them more responsive while enhancing efficiency, interoperability, and collaboration. Data can be pulled from different applications and different pieces of it can be correlated which makes it easy for defense agencies to understand where everyone else is working. Also, its hard to attack the data when it moves around the network in virtual space. 3. Secure Collaboration Services Defense agencies need a flexible and standards-based collaboration architecture with world-class security and controls to improve the operational efficiency of warfighters. Using collaboration capabilities, warfighters can collect and disseminate administrative command and control information in real-time. 4. User Productivity Defense agencies need quick access to data and any new and sensitive information that is shared with them. Cloud collaboration helps users to send and receive information through files and folders remotely without giving non-licensed users or external collaborators the ability to manipulate it. By enabling users to utilize, maintain, and access data securely, users can be more productive focusing only on mission-critical jobs fearlessly. 4. Informed Decision Making Data must be used to increase situational awareness at various site locations. Using cloud and analytics, data can be stored, shared and accessed from different sources and devices. This data can be used by portable cloud containers to assist defense agencies in making better and informed decisions. 5. Control into Supply Chains Defense agencies need advanced technologies to manage mission-critical supply chains. Cloud can vastly improve the efficiency and security of these processes, giving unprecedented control and visibility into the supply chain and reducing the risk of counterfeit goods and equipment. 6. Resilience To enhance operational security, military designed separate IT systems that inadvertently failed. Cloud computing removes the weaknesses of siloed systems and minimizes the risk of individual errors ensuring overall organizational security. Further ahead, we will explore how Microsoft provides an enterprise information infrastructure, communications support, and a secure, resilient enterprise cloud environment for the US DoD, and any other organization that plays a role in the defense of the United States. But before going through it, let’s understand what DISA Level 2 is. DISA Level 2 and Microsoft 365 GCC The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is a combat support agency of the US Department of Defense (DoD). To implement its mandate, DISA developed the Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (SRG) for DoD. Microsoft’s government cloud services meet the demanding requirements of the US Department of Defense, from impact levels 2 through 5, enabling U.S. defense agencies to benefit from the cost savings and rigorous security of the Microsoft Cloud. By deploying protected services including Azure Government, Office 365 U.S. Government, and Dynamics 365 Government, defense agencies can use a rich array of compliant services. Now, let’s have a look at covered services for DoD Impact Level 2: Azure and Azure Government Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) were granted this authorization based on the Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board. Dynamics 365 U.S. Government Software as a Service (SaaS) was granted this authorization based on the Agency FedRAMP Authority to Operate (ATO) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Office 365 U.S. Government was granted this authorization based on the Agency FedRAMP ATO from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Impact Level 2 covers non-controlled unclassified information i.e., data that is authorized for public release. It also covers other unclassified information that, while not considered ‘mission-critical,’ still requires a minimal level of access control. This authorization enables US federal government customers to deploy non-sensitive information and basic defense applications and websites on in-scope Microsoft cloud services. If you are an organization that is DoD eligible and are planning to deploy Office 365 Government to your environment, click here to learn more. With advanced threat protection services and massively powerful analytics, Microsoft carries more security and compliance certifications than any other cloud provider. Microsoft adheres to DoD’s cloud principles and delivers matchless options across tools and services to DISA. One example is Microsoft Teams designed for intelligent collaboration supporting instant messaging, audio-video calling, rich mobile experiences, online meetings, and extensive web conferencing capabilities. IT architecture in Microsoft Teams comprises Microsoft 365 groups and Microsoft Graph. Teams is built with the same enterprise-level security, compliance, and manageability as the rest of Office 365. Teams leverages identities stored in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). These services are delivered from Microsoft data centers which users can access on different types of devices from inside an enterprise network or over the internet. TeamsHub by Cyclotron Reinvents Collaboration Microsoft Teams has been used by the US DoD staffers to facilitate collaboration since the onset of COVID-19 crisis to work remotely. Though Teams is an entrusted and popular platform for its exclusive teleworking capabilities offered in Office 365 Government Community Cloud (GCC) plan, agencies like DISA can take collaboration to next level by implementing TeamsHub by Cyclotron on top of it. TeamsHub by Cyclotron is a unified communication and collaboration tool that extends Microsoft Teams’ capabilities by automating governance and elevating employee engagement. Let us walk through a few scenarios to know how TeamsHub by Cyclotron can help DISA-DoD with impact level 2 to drive intelligent productivity: Scenario: Reliable access to files and seamless data sharing Key Solution by TeamsHub by Cyclotron: TeamsHub by Cyclotron ensures that DISA-DoD personnel have secure access to files regardless of device and location. Also, they can track and revoke access to files whenever any misuse of information is suspected while collaborating with external parties. Scenario: Detect teams’ performance in real-time that handle critical projects Key Solution by TeamsHub by Cyclotron: TeamsHub by Cyclotron offers strong analytics and generates automated reports to gain actionable insights into teams’ performance and workplace progress to help make better and informed decisions before a costly mistake can happen. Scenario: Ease in administration and access management Key Solution by TeamsHub by Cyclotron: Teams by Cyclotron eliminates all administration challenges by automating provisions and processes so that DISA-DoD personnel can concentrate on their mission. It enables only trusted access and secure sharing of information by DoD personnel and partners across operational, support, and business areas. External partners’ activities are fully controlled and governed on different levels in TeamsHub by Cyclotron. Scenario: Quick information search Key Solution by TeamsHub by Cyclotron: In order to speed up processes and enhance work efficiency for DISA-DoD personnel, Teams by Cyclotron eliminates fragmentation of content and enables fast discoverability of files, folders, documents or projects without a hassle or delay. Conclusion In a nutshell, Teams by Cyclotron is meticulously built to simplify complex and cumbersome processes in collaboration which defense agencies repeatedly face and help them in their digital journey by bringing game-changing implications to the communication platform. If you are a government organization, looking to revolutionize your workplace, please click here.