What does this mean for government contractors? What other contracts are on the horizon for cloud service and SaaS providers to keep your eyes on?
Microsoft Cloud: How the JEDI Award Impacts Contractors
Government contractors consistently look for methods to get ahead of the competition and land a successful proposal. The JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) program is a $10 Billion project that was awarded to Microsoft for creating the infrastructure for multiple departments in the Pentagon.
Microsoft and Amazon were the last two contenders in a field that at one time included Oracle and IBM. This project is one of 10 projects which have already awarded more than $11 Billion. Previous contenders Oracle and IBM are contesting some of the requirements that the DOJ had in the proposal process according to Federal News Network, but for now Microsoft has once again demonstrated that the technology giant is building momentum as a competitor in the cloud marketplace.
Some tech firms want the US Government to favor a multiple cloud system over the single-vendor JEDI platform. However, the desire for increased security and portability means that the bulk of the DoD cloud strategy is focused on JEDI.
Microsoft winning the JEDI award means that vendors who use the Azure system in the future are likely to have a platform that integrates with the DoD cloud strategy. Microsoft Azure and Office 365 will provide a single platform that meets upcoming CMMC requirements and other government security requirements.
Updates on Contracts
JEDI is not Microsoft’s first big government contract. DEOS, Awarded in August of 2019, was awarded to General Dynamics IT, but will be built using Office 365. While these contracts are large, there are many more contracts on the table for cloud vendors and service providers.
Although only 20% of the cloud budget for the DoD, JEDI plays an outsized role in government contracting. It is the infrastructure on which many of the other projects will need to interact.
The JEDI proposal process was filled with drama both political and legal, from President Trump weighing into multiple lawsuits by contenders who felt that the requirements were unfair.
The recent DEOS (Defense Enterprise Office Solutions) award went to General Dynamics IT. However, General Dynamics IT will build office solutions on the Microsoft 365 infrastructure. This in order to provide cloud-based document management and email solutions.
Whether looking at the infrastructure or at the office solutions, the Microsoft cloud platforms provide a streamlined system for continuing contracting work.
Security in Government Contracts
Because of the streamlined system of interoperability, Microsoft Azure and Office 365 are set to meet the standards of security for the upcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). As the Federal government continues to implement more security protocols like DFARS and ITAR, Microsoft Government Community Cloud High (GCC High), Compliance Manager and Compliance in Teams will provide the system to meet those security requirements.
DFARS (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement), along with the Procedures, Guidance, and Information (PGI) are the regulations the Pentagon has released for CUI (Controlled Unclassified Information). CUI is the largest amount of information that Department of Defense communications systems handle.
Because of how much CUI any contractor needs, contractors who want to win cloud contracts must consider how information is processed and how to secure it.
The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) are the laws regarding defense-related goods and services. This series of laws contain both civil and criminal statutes; Microsoft is one of the only cloud providers that has designed their document management systems to meet ITAR compliance. This is for businesses who are handling data regarding defense goods or services.
Compliance Manager is the free version of compliance management for Office 365. For GCC High, Microsoft products incorporate experiences from managing large scale compliance solutions on Office 365. Government contractors looking to build a system that meets compliance will be able to use Microsoft’s compliance systems to provide a secure environment.
Compliance Manager works with Microsoft teams to provide a predictable, securable system within an organization’s cloud services. As a contractor providing security to a governmental agency, your business can use Microsoft’s compliance systems and GCC High. These provide secure solutions at a reduced labor cost because your Red and Blue Teams use a known system.
How Will Continued Microsoft Cloud Growth Help Security?
Your business will be able to use Microsoft Cloud to provide better systems. Indeed, its interoperability and ease of use are common tools on other DoD platforms.
The recent awarding of JEDI and DEOS to Microsoft means that organizations competing for growth opportunities with the DoD need to consider Azure and Office 365 as the primary contender for your cloud platform.
Since the cloud platform will be built on Microsoft Azure and the document management system will be built on Office 365, additional projects are likely to work well with the system. For contractors, the recent award was an important milestone. However, Amazon Web Services may be used as an additional cloud in the future. Further, JEDI’s single operator system means that Microsoft cloud will be used in the Pentagon for the next 10 years. Security contractors will be able to scan and secure their software, hardware, and platforms.
Since Security and Compliance are required, and CMMC is the current change in governmental cloud computing, cloud contractors will benefit by using Microsoft as their cloud platform provider.