As governments strive to become more responsive and transparent, it’s important for them to make public information easily accessible to citizens. At the same time, it’s critical that they protect confidential data.
A key reason why governments choose Microsoft Office 365 is Microsoft’s leadership in the industry when it comes to privacy, security, and compliance practices. In short, governments know they can trust Microsoft to help protect their data.
So how does Microsoft demonstrate leadership and why exactly do governments trust Office 365 to help protect their data? Here are four reasons:
- We respect your privacy. Google is under criticism for its privacy practices. Office 365 does not build advertising products out of customer data, unlike other companies. Nor do we scan your email or documents for building analytics, data mining, or advertising, or to improve the service. What’s more, you own your data. Office 365 customer data belongs to the customer. Customers can remove their data whenever they choose.
- Office 365 is independently verified. Office 365 is compliant with many world-class industry standards, and it is verified by third parties. For example, Office 365 is the first major business productivity public cloud service to have implemented the rigorous set of physical, logical, process, and management controls defined by ISO 27001, one of the best security benchmarks available in the world. In addition, Office 365 is the first major business productivity public cloud service provider to sign the standard contractual clauses created by the European Union (“EU Model Clauses”) with all customers. Office 365 also implements security processes that adhere to the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) required by U.S. federal agencies and to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- With Office 365, you know where your data is located. Office 365 customers know where major Office 365 datacenters are located, who can access that data, and under what circumstances that data can be accessed. In addition, you can choose to receive updates regarding data center location changes, as well as security, privacy, and audit information. What’s more, with Office 365 for Government, your data is stored in a segregated community cloud (U.S. Government customers should contact a Microsoft partner or Microsoft representative for purchasing the community cloud plans).
- Microsoft is relentless on security features. Microsoft’s security practices and policies were developed based on 15 years of experience providing security technologies for online data. The Microsoft Secure Development Lifecycle ensures that security and privacy features are incorporated into our products by design, from software development to service operations. In addition, data is secured in five different layers-data, application, host, network, and physical. Microsoft also proactively monitors Office 365 services to identify threats and predict malicious behavior.
Among the governments that have benefited from the security and privacy features of Office 365 is the County of Santa Clara. The county has numerous remote field staff, which creates the need to share information electronically in a confidential manner, consistent with regulations that govern privacy and other sensitive information. “The selection of this solution and our IT consolidation efforts have enabled us to nearly double the number of employees covered and will provide our staff with new tools and collaboration technologies to help better serve our residents,” says Joyce Wing, the county’s chief information officer. “
Likewise, the State of Minnesota chose Office 365, in part, because of its robustly secured architecture. Says Tarek Tomes, assistant commissioner for the State of Minnesota: “The robust security and reliability that Microsoft was providing with Office 365 was essential-we would not have agreed to a hosted solution without making sure that the state’s data would be secured.”
The County of Santa Clara and the State of Minnesota join a growing list of other governments that are implementing Office 365 including the Federal Aviation System, the U.S. Veterans Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the states of California and New York, and the cities of New York, San Francisco, and Chicago.
It’s no wonder so many governments are choosing Office 365. Simply put, Office 365 is a cloud-based service governments can trust.
To learn more about Office 365 security practices, please check out the Microsoft Office 365 Trust Center.