The US federal government may currently be going through the first day of the shutdown crisis after the two Houses of Congress failed to agree to the budget. But Microsoft has just announced that it has nailed the esteemed FedRAMP security certification for Windows Azure.

This sought after accreditation means the platform is certified for US federal cloud computing needs.

And it represents an important milestone for Microsoft, as the company seeks lucrative government contracts for its Azure platform. It did, however, take a while, as direct competitors Amazon and HP announced that they had gained federal approval back in May and June this year.

Redmond shared the news in a post on the official TechNet blog, with Susie Adams, the chief technology officer for Microsoft Federal saying:

“This not only opens the door for faster cloud adoption, but helps agencies move to the cloud in a more streamlined, cost-effective way.

The FedRAMP process for this type of approval is very rigorous, and the JAB authorization is a big step forward for Microsoft. It also speaks volumes to the pragmatic, holistic approach that Microsoft has taken for its cloud services offerings.”

Microsoft has now joined the small list of cloud providers that have gained this vital security approval from the US government, including the likes of Akamai, AT&T, Lockheed Martin and other public cloud platforms from names like Amazon and HP.

The company however claims that unlike other vendors, it is the first public cloud platform to be credited with the JAB P-ATO (Joint Authorisation Board Provisional Authority to Operate) under the Federal Risk and Authorisation Management Program (FedRAMP).

This authorization covers both Redmond’s Azure infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings.

It allows vendors to pass through a single vetting process rather than undergoing fresh checks each time it bids for a tender with a new government agency.

Next step is full Authority to Operate (ATO) status, but for now Microsoft is honored with the current certifications, as it states in the press release.

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