Microsoft's Office 365 became the first Email-as-a-Service (EaaS) to gain accreditation under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Thursday, receiving authority to operate (ATO) cloud services for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General.

Microsoft's Azure public cloud service received provisional authority to operate (P-ATO) last year, but the full ATO awarded Thursday makes it the first EaaS to gain full accreditation.

"Microsoft's authorization with HHS OIG makes Office 365 the first cloud based email and collaboration service to obtain a FedRAMP authorization," said Matt Goodrich, acting FedRAMP director at the General Services Administration. "Microsoft worked with the HHS OIG and the FedRAMP PMO to demonstrate Office 365's adherence to the stringent FedRAMP security requirements that are critical for U.S. government adoption of cloud services."


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Along with the ATO, Microsoft partner InfoReliance was awarded a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) to manage the HHS email systems Thursday — a contract totaling $92 million over five years. InfoReliance will begin migrating the health service's 125,000 email accounts to Office 365, hosted under the Government Community Cloud (GCC).

Under the single EaaS umbrella, "all of the operating and staffing divisions will be able to unify systems, enabling employees to collaborate across each department more efficiently and effectively," Vice President of Microsoft Federal Greg Myers said. "As an example, when public health outbreaks and emergencies occur, many disparate operating divisions of HHS are involved in the response efforts. While these operating divisions have different missions and responsibilities, much of the data, correspondence and activities are similar."

"We are very excited to support HHS in its move to the cloud and to help them to better serve the American people," InfoReliance Executive Vice President Eric Olson said. "This is a notable achievement in our five year investment in cloud services and an exciting win for our rapidly expanding Health IT practice."

InfoReliance provides cloud services to 16 other federal organizations, including moving the Department of Labor's email systems to the 365 cloud, under an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract.

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