What is Microsoft 365 Government (GCC)?

Ataira - May 08, 2021

Overview

Microsoft 365 Government (GCC) is a set of productivity, security, and mobility cloud software capabilities tailored for US government agencies and contractors required to hold controlled, unclassified information. Delivered through US based environments that meet the most stringent of compliance and security requirements, Microsoft 365 Government (GCC) is a cloud offering for US government customers that matches as closely as possible the features and capabilities of Microsoft commercial cloud enterprise offerings.

What makes Microsoft 365 Government (GCC) different from Microsoft 365 for enterprise offerings?

Microsoft 365 Government (GCC) is 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 commercial companies that have been authorized to hold and process-controlled information on behalf of the US government.

Screened personnel. Access to your organization’s customer content is restricted to screened Microsoft personnel who are US citizens and has passed required background checks. Third-party audits. All of the infrastructure is audited 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. Data is stored within the continental United States with compliant infrastructure. The following table summarizes Microsoft 365 for Government environments and commitments.

Microsoft 365 Government (GCC) eligibility and validation

Microsoft 365 Government (GCC) is available to eligible government customers and non-government organizations sponsored to hold or process controlled information. The eligibility criteria for these two categories of customers are consistent across the Microsoft Government Cloud.

Both GCC and GCC High offerings are available to any customer that is eligible for the Microsoft Government Cloud, and the DoD environment is for the exclusive use of the U.S. Department of Defense. Service availability and price differ, and GCC remains the hero offering for all customers that do not hold FedRAMP High or DoD controlled unclassified information (CUI).

An eligible government customer is defined by one the following:

  • A federal agency, defined as a bureau, office, agency, department, or other entity of the U.S. Government.
  • A state/local entity, defined as one of the following:
    • Any agency of a state or local government in the U.S.
    • Any U.S. county, borough, commonwealth, city, municipality, town, township, special purpose district, or other similar type of governmental instrumentality established by the laws of a customer’s state and located within the customer’s state’s jurisdiction and geographic boundaries.
    • The District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands
  • A tribal entity, defined as a federally recognized tribal entity eligible for funding and services from the U.S. Department of Interior by virtue of its status as an Indian tribe, or, in Alaska, a native village or Alaska Regional Native corporation

Non-government organizations who hold the following types of data and can provide the listed proofs qualify for the Microsoft Government Cloud validation process. A commercial private entity with data that is subject to regulations. Accepted government data types include:

An international commercial entity may qualify, though regulated data may be required to purchase the service through their US subsidiary. Proof of membership in one of the groups listed above will be required for access to Microsoft 365 Government (GCC) offerings.

  • International Traffic in Arms (ITAR)
  • Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)
  • Department of Defense (DoD) Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information (UCNI)
  • Department of Energy (DoE) UCNI
  • Criminal Justice Information (CJI)
  • Department of Defense Impact Level Data
  • Other types of data that require Microsoft 365 Government (GCC).

How do I purchase Microsoft 365 Government (GCC)?

As an authorized Microsoft reseller, Ataira is able to offer Microsoft 365 Government to it’s customers. To purchase simply follow the normal checkout procedures and click the link to authorize Ataira as a Microsoft reseller for your organization. Once done, our support specialists will submit/verify your eligibility for the GCC environment. If your organization is not yet authorized you will be asked to submit information that can be used to verify your qualifications for the environment.

An important caveat to the provisioning process is that you may not mix GCC and non government subscriptions in the same tenant. If needed we can setup a new tenant to be validated and authorized or convert all (if applicable) subscriptions to GCC subscriptions in a current tenant. To see a list of all GCC subscriptions available follow the link below:

Buy Microsoft Office 365 Government Subscriptions – Ataira