Microsoft and Amazon fight to keep US secrets

Amazon Microsoft United States Government

The race between Microsoft and Amazon to house the most sensitive information from the US government is intensifying. A lucrative opportunity that offers access to juicy federal contracts and where until not long ago the company now led by Andy Jassy was running as the main option for US government agencies.

However, last week the one in Redmond (Washington) received the go-ahead from the authorities so that its new cloud service, explicitly designed to manage some of the most sensitive government data and information, can handle workloads for all classification levels. In this way, the Azure Government Top Secret platform, which was presented for the first time together with a set of new products last December, is now generally available to customers of the different federal agencies with more than 60 services.

Very close collaboration

“We have worked closely with the US government to create a portfolio of cloud services with the goal of assisting national security and enabling leaders of the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense, and federal civilian agencies to innovate. securely wherever the mission calls for it,” said Tom Keane, corporate vice president of Azure, which hosts Microsoft’s cloud services.

The company headed by Satya Nadella has thus obtained authorization to operate the infrastructure in accordance with the Directive of the Intelligence Community. Microsoft also achieved approval for its facilities to meet the required safety standards.

It should be remembered that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the first company to launch top-secret regions that were deemed suitable to house extremely private government data. Now Microsoft has the same capacity, something increases competition and provides the government with a new option.

Microsoft is an important partner of the US Department of Defense

Azure Government Top Secret offers multiple geographically separated regions and provides national security leaders with countless options for data storage, business continuity, and resiliency to support their workloads. It can also connect to classified networks and offers high-bandwidth private connectivity with Azure ExpressRoute.

Microsoft is already an important partner among the defense and intelligence communities. It recently won a more than $20 billion contract to supply its custom HoloLens augmented reality kits to the US military. It is also among the five companies chosen to fulfill its multi-million dollar Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contract for its commercial cloud.

For years, Azure has competed with AWS for the Pentagon’s $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract, which required a top-secret classification that had to be met at a specified time.

Microsoft was awarded the contract twice and has been working to obtain the appropriate approvals. But the decision was litigated by Amazon in a controversial and lengthy process that ultimately culminated in the project’s cancellation earlier this summer.

The succulent business of the cloud

In its last fiscal quarter, Amazon Web Services (AWS) generated sales of $14.809 million and achieved an operating profit of $4.193 million, thus posing as a central pillar for the company founded by Jeff Bezos. For its part, Azure achieved sales of $11.7 billion, 24% more than last year, which translated into an operating profit of $7.8 billion.