Microsoft’s cloud computing platform is now accredited to store and communicate data securely up to the UK Government’s Impact Level 2 classification.

Reading, UK. — 04/04/13 —Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Windows Azure, has been awarded Impact Level 2 (IL2) accreditation, further enhancing Microsoft’s offerings on the current G-Cloud Framework and CloudStore.

The IL2 rating will benefit a broad range of UK public sector organisations, including local and regional government, NHS trusts and some central government bodies, who require the ‘protect’ level of security for data processing, storage and transmission. This is a key milestone in supporting the UK Government’s stated aim of reducing the cost of ICT and moving 50 per cent of new ICT services to the cloud by 2015.

Windows Azure supports the Government’s Digital by Default agenda and enables public sector organisations to develop and run apps for citizen facing services, or departmental apps for internal users. It provides both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) compute and storage capability on a pay as you go basis and avoids the capital expenditure and costs of running and maintaining expensive systems on-premise. Microsoft is also seeing increased interest in using Azure for storage as a substantially more cost effective approach.

“Following our recent Office 365 IL2 accreditation this is a further endorsement of Microsoft’s public cloud services”, said Nicola Hodson, General Manager, Public Sector, Microsoft Ltd. “The Windows Azure platform also creates more opportunities for Microsoft’s expanding SME Partner community.  “There are over 80 already assured on the CloudStore marketplace and the core objective is to quickly develop cost effective and innovative cloud based solutions, which can easily be ported on and off Azure to support government users and citizens alike,” continued Nicola.

“As a provider of software to schools we welcome the announcement of IL2 accreditation” said Darren Cole, Project Manager of the Primary Target Tracker application at Essex County Council. “This gives additional reassurance to our users and serves to authenticate our own detailed analysis of the security within the Azure services which was fully and openly supported by Microsoft throughout.”

Dan Scarfe, CEO and co-founder of Dot Net Solutions a UK SME, said: “Receiving IL2 accreditation is a great accolade for Windows Azure. Gaining this level of accreditation makes it applicable for a huge number of citizen-facing services and internal systems across the whole of government. Windows Azure is currently the only major public Cloud provider to have achieved this level of accreditation. It demonstrates the work Microsoft has done to bake security in to the very fabric of the platform. Using Windows Azure and the Cloud gives government the opportunity to consume commoditised IT services for a fraction of the cost of traditional hosting, reducing the burden on the tax payer.”

Andy James CTO, at another UK SME, Solidsoft said: “We’re excited that Microsoft Windows Azure has achieved IL2. This will enable agencies and authorities to benefit from the same zero capital cost economics and rapid time to deliver for technology enabled services that commercial organisations are currently enjoying.”

Ends.

About IL2

The Impact Level (IL), reflects the confidentiality of information managed in the service. IL2 is also known as PROTECT and it includes personal information. The Impact Levels are defined by the Cabinet Office and CESG, CESG is the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance for UK Government. Further information on Impact Levels can be found here:

http://www.cesg.gov.uk/publications/Documents/business_impact_tables.pdf

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

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Matt Simms
Bite
020 8834 3419
Matt.Simms@biteglobal.com