It's Friday and I am in a Microsoft (news, site) state of mind. Particularly when it comes to news about SharePoint or cloud offerings like this one: Microsoft will offer governments a version of its Business Productivity Online Suite that more secure and private than the current one.

Government is a Big Market

Microsoft held its 8th annual U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit this week unveiling a new hosted offering of BPOS -- a dedicated government version. Now we all know that there are some fairly tight rules and regulations for government agencies, regulations that might make the current BPOS online suite a no-no for some.

But government is a big market, one that Microsoft loves to cater too (who wouldn't). So they have upped the standards and certifications for the current suite (for the 500 state and local governments currently using it), including the following Industry Standards and Certifications:

  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001
  • Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) 70 Type I and Type II
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Title 21 CFR Part 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations
  • Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2
  • Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) compliance

A Government Version of BPOS

And they've introduced a new government version: Business Productivity Online Suite Federal

This new government version includes all the standards and certifications listed above. In addition it will be housed in a separate, dedicated infrastructure at secure facilities.

Microsoft says that access to theses systems is limited to a small number of individuals via biometric access controls. In compliance with ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations), these individuals must be US citizens who have been taken through tight background checks.

This new federal version is available to US federal government agencies, related government contractors and others that may require this higher level of security.

Here is what else Microsoft announced at the Summit: