By Davina Armstrong-Cruz
Senior Technical Architect,
Sterling Master Specialist – Digital Workspace
If you haven’t heard of Windows 365 yet, then you’re missing out. Windows 365 is a cloud-based service that provides the power of a Microsoft Azure Cloud-PC, at a convenient subscription price.
Windows 365 has been available for the past year in the editions Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise. Now Windows 365 is available as a government-community Cloud PC (GCC and GCC High) edition for the individual user, which can be used as a dedicated Windows device.
Windows 365 Government was developed with federal standards top of mind. The new edition is tailored to the work of U.S. government agencies and contractors, specifically sponsored to hold controlled, unclassified information (CUI). Windows 365 Government Cloud PCs securely stream their Windows apps, data, content, and settings from the Microsoft cloud to any supported devices at any time. This is a complete Windows experience: powerful, personalized, protected, and simple.
Like Windows 365 Enterprise, Windows 365 Government enhances productivity through the secure collaboration benefits of Microsoft 365. Both editions also offer some Microsoft Azure functionality:
- The machines are automatically enrolled into MEM — Microsoft Endpoint Manager (Intune) to manage the Cloud PCs
- Azure Active Directory for identity and access-control
- Azure Virtual Desktop for remote connectivity
So, what is the difference between Windows 365 Government and Windows 365 Enterprise?
Windows 365 Government has been uniquely designed to address the compliance requirements of US government agencies in four key areas:
- Exclusive community
Government data centers are available only to government agencies or departments
or to commercial companies that have been authorized to hold and process controlled information on behalf of the US government.
- Screened personnel
Access to an organization’s content is restricted to screened Microsoft personnel who are US citizens and have passed required background checks.
- Third-party audits
All Windows 365 Government infrastructure is overseen by a certified third-party auditor who provides a security assessment report or attestation letter used by federal agencies to issue an authorization to operate (ATO).
- Content storage
Windows 365 Government data is stored within the continental United States, with compliant infrastructure. The following table summarizes Windows 365 Government environments and commitments:
|Windows 365 Government GCC||FedRamp High, DFARS, CJIS, IRS 1075, DISA SRG L2|
|Windows 365 Government GCC High||FedRamp High, ITAR, DFARS, DISA SRG L4 controls|
Microsoft’s approach — tailoring their new 365 system to different organizational users — enables those users to operate more cost-effectively while also navigating and managing the hybrid environments of legacy and modern applications.