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What’s the difference between Microsoft Commercial Cloud, GCC, and GCC High?

Today's workforce relies heavily on digital technology, and government agencies must balance the demands of citizen engagement, data security, and access. This creates challenges for governments striving to support engagement while safeguarding data. As more departments deal with sensitive data, managing multiple databases while preserving privacy becomes intricate.

So, how can agencies promote collaboration between departments, offer secure services, and maintain data accessibility? Additionally, how can governments harness automation to compensate for a reduced workforce?

Government agencies face the added complexity of strict compliance rules, making providing digital services and data protection even more challenging. Azure Government cloud-based services, such as Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud (GCC) and GCC High, aid governments and tribal organizations facing these challenges.

Let's delve into Microsoft's GCC, GCC High, and the Commercial Cloud. For more information on which cloud services suit your needs, please contact TotalCareIT.

Microsoft 365 Compliance Comparison Chart

Microsoft Commercial Cloud
Many companies store their data on internal servers but use commercial cloud services for secure data storage. Microsoft's Commercial Cloud was specifically designed for this purpose, catering to the data storage needs of all types of organizations.

The Commercial Cloud can seamlessly integrate and safeguard data across different platforms, providing tools to help businesses stay up-to-date in our increasingly digital world. It encompasses products like Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365/Office 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, and developer tools.

Here are some advantages of using the Commercial Cloud:

Scalability: Cloud computing offers virtually limitless scalability, which benefits organizations with fluctuating staff numbers.
Cost savings: Cloud services can be more cost-effective than maintaining physical infrastructure.
Accessibility: Cloud computing enables employees to access data and resources from anywhere with an internet connection.
Security: Microsoft implements robust security measures to protect customer data.
Collaboration: The cloud facilitates collaboration among staff and external partners.

Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud
Microsoft 365 GCC is a cloud platform tailored specifically for U.S. government customers, tribal governments, and their partners. It offers a dedicated and isolated environment for data subject to specific regulations or compliance requirements. The GCC provides features similar to commercial cloud services, including Microsoft 365, Azure, and Dynamics 365.

The primary distinctions between the commercial cloud and Microsoft 365 GCC lie in compliance, data center locations, and support. Microsoft 365 GCC complies with various regulations and is suitable for government contracting, collaborating with government agencies, handling sensitive data, and mitigating risk.

Microsoft 365 GCC is a cloud platform designed specifically for U.S. government customers, tribal government customers, and their partners, providing a dedicated and isolated environment for data that may be subject to certain regulations or compliance requirements. The GCC offers many of the same features and operations as commercial cloud services, including Microsoft 365, Azure, and Dynamics 365. The primary differences between the commercial cloud and the Microsoft GCC boil down to compliance, where the datacenters are located, and who can provide support. Microsoft 365 GCC provides compliance with the following:

FedRAMP High
Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS)
DISA Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (CC SRG) Impact Level 1-2
NIST 800-53/171
CMMC Level 1

The GCC is a good option for organizations and tribal governments that need to comply with specific regulations, work with government agencies or contractors, handle sensitive data, or want to mitigate cybersecurity risk. This cloud complies with data storage and availability regulations while providing tools that improve efficiency and allow organizations to innovate more easily. Here are some situations where you may want to leverage the GCC:

Government contracting: If you are a government contractor, you may be required to use a cloud platform that meets certain security and compliance standards. The Microsoft 365 GCC is designed to meet these standards, making it a good choice for government contractors who must meet these requirements.
Collaboration with government agencies: If your organization needs to collaborate with government agencies or other government contractors, the GCC can provide a secure and compliant environment for sharing data and resources.
Data sensitivity: If your organization handles sensitive data, such as classified information or personal identifiable information (PII), use the Microsoft GCC to ensure that your data is protected in a secure and isolated environment.
Risk mitigation: Using the GCC can help mitigate risk associated with cybersecurity threats, as the platform has been designed to provide high security and compliance.

Microsoft 365 GCC High
Microsoft 365 GCC High, like Microsoft 365 GCC, has data centers located within the continental U.S. and is operated solely by U.S.-based personnel. It can meet compliance requirements for FedRAMP High, NIST 800-53/171, DFARS, and CMMC Level 1. The key difference is that GCC High resides in the Azure Government cloud and is supported exclusively by a U.S.-based, restricted support team.

Microsoft recommends Microsoft 365 GCC High for DFARS 7012 compliance and organizations aiming for CMMC Levels 2-3. It offers additional compliance requirements, including FedRAMP High, ITAR, DISA Cloud Computing Security Requirement Guide Impact Level 4, DoD-DISA Cloud Computing Security Requirement Guide Impact Level 5, and Federal CJIS cloud compliance regulations.

Microsoft GCC High provides a secure and compliant environment for organizations handling sensitive data, offering benefits such as compliance, security, collaboration, scalability, cost savings, and accessibility.