Microsoft has been awarded the certification from Australian Signal Directorate (ASD) to handle the highly classified government information up to protected level.
The certification confirms that Microsoft has successfully completed the comprehensive assessment undertaken by ASD, so all the Australian government, healthcare and education agencies can now use Azure and Office 365 services.
“Australia is under increasing cyber security threat and as government and critical infrastructure innovate and transform, it is imperative that we remove risk in our existing systems and use modern, secure cloud technology,” said Angus Taylor, Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity, Australia.
Protection level certification is the highest security level granted by ASD on its CCSL (Certified Cloud Services List). It assures public sector customers that the certified cloud service providers have effective and appropriate security measures in place for processing, storage, and transmission of confidential data.
“Awarding Microsoft the protected certification reflects the Turnbull government’s commitment to prioritise and deliver secure cloud services, ensuring a very high level of security for Australians,” added Taylor.
The news about ASD certification came following the announcement of two new Microsoft Azure regions in Australia. Microsoft now provides its Azure services from three cities in Australia including Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne, along with connectivity to Perth, Brisbane and Auckland.
“A key to our new Australia Central regions is the ability for customers to deploy their own applications and infrastructure within Canberra Data Centres directly connected via Azure ExpressRoute to Microsoft’s global network,” wrote Tom Keane, Head of Global Infrastructure, Microsoft Azure, in a blog post.
Microsoft is the first hyperscale public cloud provider, and second foreign vendor (following Dimension Data) to gain ASD protected cloud certification. The company had received protected IRAP (Information Security Registered Assessors Program) almost a year ago, and was among the cloud service providers who could host Unclassified government information.
The other tech companies in the list of ASD protected certification are Sliced Tech, Vault Systems, and Macquarie Telecom. Amazon Web Services (AWS), the public cloud leader, is still an Unclassified cloud service provider in the region.