Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) validated Microsoft's approach to cloud security by granting Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite - Federal (BPOS-F) the authorization to operate (ATO) under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and is now in the process of migrating its 120,000 users to the system.
"The certification and accreditation has resulted in an official "Authorization to Operate" (ATO) issued on April 19 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for Microsoft's BPOS-Federal, which includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Office Communications Online. It follows a similar authorization issued by the USDA in November for the Microsoft data centers that'll deliver these services to the USDA. We plan to pursue FISMA certification and accreditation for Office 365, our next generation cloud productivity suite, after it launches.
As a result of this action, the USDA is migrating 120,000 employees to Microsoft's BPOS-Federal service. This means that the USDA can use BPOS-Federal to handle a variety of tasks. For example, the USDA's Food Security programs can use BPOS-Federal to respond to food safety emergencies, the U.S. Forest Service can use BPOS-Federal to coordinate its efforts to fight forest fires, and the Foreign Agriculture Service can use BPOS-Federal to manage the distribution of food aid to millions of people around the world."
"We take our responsibility to protect customer data very seriously, and our cloud services already meet some of the industry's most rigorous global security and privacy standards. FISMA for BPOS-Federal is just the latest example," stated MOS team blog.
[Source: Microsoft Online Services Team Blog]