Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive suite of cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools that include applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as well as cloud-based services like OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, and more. Microsoft 365 was designed to help organizations of all sizes and industries increase productivity, collaboration, and efficiency. With Microsoft 365, users can work on documents in real-time with team members from anywhere in the world, share files securely, and communicate through chat, voice, and video.
Microsoft 365 Government vs. Microsoft 365 Commercial
Microsoft 365 Government is a cloud-based productivity suite designed for government agencies and contractors that handle sensitive information. In contrast, Microsoft 365 Commercial is designed for businesses of all sizes. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between the two.
What is GCC High?
GCC High is a dedicated cloud infrastructure that provides a highly secure and isolated environment for government agencies and contractors to store and process Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and other sensitive government data. It is specifically designed to meet the security and compliance needs of the DoD and other government agencies with similar requirements. GCC High meets stringent security controls and regulatory requirements outlined in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) High baseline. Some benefits of using GCC High include enhanced data protection, improved regulatory compliance, and increased efficiency through cloud-based services.
What is the difference between GCC High and GCC?
GCC High and GCC are both cloud infrastructures designed for government agencies and contractors, but the primary difference is that GCC High provides a physically and logically isolated cloud environment separate from the public cloud infrastructure, while GCC shares infrastructure with Azure’s public cloud. The physical and logical isolation provided by GCC High offers additional security and compliance benefits not available with GCC.
Benefits of Moving to GCC High for CMMC Compliance
Moving to GCC High as part of your Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) compliance can provide several benefits to organizations that handle sensitive government data. Some of these benefits include enhanced accountability, streamlined management, and compliance with regulatory requirements such as ITAR and NOFORN.
One of the key benefits of moving to GCC High as part of your CMMC compliance is enhanced accountability. GCC High provides a highly secure and compliant cloud environment that ensures data protection and regulatory compliance. By using GCC High, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity and data protection, which can help build trust with customers and partners.
Moreover, GCC High provides advanced threat detection and mitigation tools that can help organizations quickly identify and respond to security incidents. By having a highly secure and compliant cloud environment, organizations can reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents that can result in lost revenue, legal liabilities, and reputational damage.
Moving to GCC High as part of your CMMC compliance can provide a streamlined management system that can help organizations automate various compliance activities, reduce manual effort, and enhance operational efficiency. GCC High provides built-in compliance controls and security features designed to meet the requirements of government agencies and contractors.
By using GCC High, organizations can automate compliance activities such as data backups, monitoring, and reporting. This automation can help organizations reduce the need for manual effort and increase efficiency, allowing them to focus on their core business operations. Additionally, GCC High can help organizations reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents by providing advanced threat detection and mitigation tools.
NOFORN and ITAR Compliance
One of the key benefits of moving to GCC High is compliance with regulations such as ITAR and NOFORN, which are essential for government contractors. ITAR is a set of United States government regulations that control the export and import of defense-related articles and services on the United States Munitions List. NOFORN is a security classification that restricts access to information to U.S. citizens only. GCC High meets the strict security controls and regulatory requirements outlined in ITAR and NOFORN, ensuring that organizations can meet their regulatory obligations.
ITAR and NOFORN compliance are essential for government contractors, and failure to comply with these regulations can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. By using GCC High, organizations can ensure that they are meeting their regulatory obligations and reducing the risk of penalties.
Drawbacks to Using GCC High
While there are many benefits to using GCC High, there are also some potential drawbacks, including limited third-party integrations, limited information sharing, and the fact that investing in GCC High does not guarantee automatic CMMC compliance.
Limited Third-Party Integrations
One of the potential drawbacks of using GCC High is that it limits third-party integrations. GCC High is designed to ensure data protection and provide an extra layer of security for sensitive government data. As a result, it limits integrations with third-party applications and services, including popular commercial software and tools.
While this may limit the functionality of some organizations and their ability to collaborate with external partners, it’s important to note that this limitation is in place to protect sensitive government data. Limiting third-party integrations ensures that only authorized personnel have access to the data and reduces the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches.
Limited Information Sharing
Another potential drawback of using GCC High is that information sharing is limited to only DoD and GCC High tenants. This means that organizations using GCC High may have limited collaboration with other organizations outside of the government.
While this limitation is in place to protect sensitive government data, it can be a challenge for organizations that need to collaborate with external partners. To overcome this limitation, organizations can work with Microsoft partners authorized to provide GCC High services to identify alternative solutions that enable collaboration while still maintaining the security and compliance of their data.
No Automatic CMMC Compliance
While moving to GCC High is a crucial step towards achieving compliance with the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), it does not guarantee automatic CMMC compliance. CMMC is a framework developed by the DoD to ensure that government contractors are meeting specific cybersecurity requirements based on the sensitivity of the information they handle.
Organizations that need to achieve CMMC compliance will still need to undergo the necessary assessments and meet the specific CMMC requirements. However, using GCC High can make the process of achieving CMMC compliance easier by providing a highly secure and compliant cloud environment that meets many of the CMMC requirements.
Deploying GCC or GCC High to Your Business
Deploying GCC or GCC High to your business requires working with a Microsoft partner authorized to provide these services. You will also need to undergo the necessary assessments and meet specific compliance requirements for your industry and organization. It’s important to consider the costs, benefits, and potential drawbacks of using GCC or GCC High before deciding.
Establishing a Governance Roadmap for GCC High
Establishing a governance roadmap for GCC High is essential for organizations looking to deploy GCC High. This roadmap should include identifying key stakeholders, assessing current security and compliance measures, defining security requirements, implementing security controls, and conducting regular audits and assessments to ensure ongoing compliance. By establishing a governance roadmap, organizations can ensure that they are meeting their security and compliance requirements while maximizing the benefits of using GCC High.
Questions about GCC or GCC High?
If you have any questions about GCC High or other cloud-based solutions for your organization’s security and compliance needs, contact Navigator Networks. Our team of experts can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision and ensure a smooth deployment process. We specialize in providing cloud-based solutions that meet the unique needs of government agencies and contractors, and we’re always here to help.