While the U.S. Navy is investing an enormous number of tax dollars to continue using Windows XP and other older Microsoft technologies, the U.S. Navy is looking forward with Office 365.
Announced this week through a press release on the Air Force Space Command web site, the agreement is touted as one of the largest commercial cloud contracts in DoD history, delivering a dedicated cloud platform built on Office 365. The contract includes email, instant messaging, desktop voice/video communications, productivity, and user storage capabilities.
The contract will be fulfilled through a partnership with Microsoft, Dell, and General Dynamics.
U.S. government agencies have been tasked with cloud adoption for some time, but movement has been slow. Primary reasons for slow uptake have been less about technical aptitude (though some could argue the point) and more about security and privacy of a cloud-based infrastructure. Microsoft's Brad Smith, the Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Legal and Corporate Affairs for Microsoft, talked to the security and privacy conundrum at WPC 2015 this week. Data protection and Cloud privacy have been top-of-mind for the company has continued to expand and improve its Azure services.
Apparently, the Air Force has been listening and watching and Microsoft and partners have made a good enough case for the armed services branch to move forward. The Air Force is not the first to make such a move, but is clearly the largest with a starting implementation more than 100,000 seats, with even more planned over the next three years.