In a quiet press release, Microsoft has announced what may be one of the most significant milestones concerning the cloud to date. The announcement is for achieving FedRAMP certification for the Microsoft Platform and Infrastructure Cloud Services. See:  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2013/sep13/09-30fedramppr.aspx

This is significant because it further qualifies the Microsoft Cloud as a secure computing environment and helps to address security, monitoring, and management practices – all of which are also very important to Utilities.

The goals of the FedRAMP program are to establish consistent US Government standards which will enable cloud adoption and qualify perspective cloud service providers:

  PROGRAM GOALS

  PROGRAM BENEFITS

  • Achieve consistent security authorizations using a baseline set of agreed upon standards to be used for Cloud product approval in or outside of FedRAMP
  • Ensure consistent application of existing security practices
  • Increase confidence in security assessments 
  • Increase automation and near real-time data for continuous monitoring
  • Increases re-use of existing security assessments across agencies
  • Saves significant cost, time and resources – "do once, use many times"
  • Improves real-time security visibility
  • Provides a uniform approach to risk-based management
  • Enhances transparency between government and cloud service providers (CSPs)
  • Improves the trustworthiness, reliability, consistency, and quality of the Federal security authorization process

Microsoft continues to be committed to working with US Government agencies and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to bring the best value cloud services to the market for customers and partners. This achievement is a tremendous step forward in the Power and Utilities arena to enable cloud adoption and move the conversation from concern about cloud security, to focus on the business. – Larry Cochrane