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Microsoft and Amazon are the top two cloud service providers, so both companies need to make sure their services are secure and offer the best quality. Governmental contracts are huge for cloud service providers, so both Microsoft’s Azure Government and Amazon’s AWS GovCloud receiving FedRAMP’s highest authorization is a big deal.

Both companies announced the authorization literally within minutes of each other today, highlighting that both services are highly regarded by the US Government.

Azure Government and AWS GovCloud received a Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the authorization board through the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). Significant new indeed, simply because this is the highest accreditation FedRAMP offers and means both services meet the highest security standards of the government.

This kind of seal of approval is necessary to secure governmental agency contracts, which are hugely important in terms of growing a cloud service beyond the enterprise base. The day gets better for Microsoft as FedRAMP also awarded High accreditation for 13 of the company’s cloud services, including Azure Key Vault and Web Apps.

Matt Goodrich, director for FedRAMP’s Program Management Office at the U.S. General Services Administration, highlighted how important this accreditation is:

The creation of the FedRAMP High Security Baseline is essential in allowing agencies to migrate more high-impact level data to the cloud. Microsoft Azure Government’s Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the FedRAMP JAB is a testament to Microsoft’s ability to meet the government’s rigorous security requirements.

Earlier in the week, Microsoft bolstered its Azure Government cloud service with new features including Premium Storage when provisioning DS-series virtual machines through PowerShell and the Azure CLI. Also in the update an expanded number of pre-configured VM images, allowing customers to provision VMs more quickly and easily by utilizing pre-installed configurations.