Recently announced by Susie Adams, chief technology officer for Microsoft Federal on the Official Microsoft Blog….

Starting Monday, it will be easier for government organizations to realize the benefits of secure cloud computing.

Microsoft received notice that Windows Azure was granted the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB) Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO). Windows Azure is the first public cloud platform, with infrastructure services and platform services, to receive a JAB P-ATO

The Federal government is moving to the cloud, and early on it recognized that, although each agency by law must still authorize and approve the mandated security controls, a streamlined process would be ideal so that individual agencies would know which cloud vendors and services had already been vetted by a central “board” of key agencies. This is what the JAB is. The FedRAMP JAB is comprised of representatives from the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

Securing a P-ATO from the JAB ensures that when government agencies have a need for an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), they know that Windows Azure has successfully met the necessary security assessments. This not only opens the door for faster cloud adoption, but helps agencies move to the cloud in a more streamlined, cost-effective way.

Additionally, since Microsoft datacenters were also evaluated as part of the JAB review process, other Microsoft cloud services are ultimately better aligned to meet these security controls as well.

This is super exciting news for public sector agencies wishing to leverage Windows Azure for data storage and production workloads! 

There is a little bit more to the post which you can find here -

Windows Azure cloud services achieve critical federal security milestone 

-Chris