Insight by Microsoft

Beyond modernization: The cloud is a secure platform for mission innovation

Classified cloud enables agencies to redefine essential mission workflows.

This content was provided by Microsoft.

Modernizing federal IT systems to support mission demands should accomplish more than just moving apps and data to the cloud. It is time to reframe the basic question about cloud modernization, especially for classified workloads. Instead of asking, “Can this mission task run in the cloud?” consider asking, “What can the cloud enable us to do that we could never do before?”

From powering collaboration and decision-making at the edge to taking advantage of generative AI (GenAI) and preparing for quantum computing, classified cloud enables agencies to redefine essential mission workflows.

Still, it’s crucial to avoid implementing a solution in search of a problem. Mission owners and technologists need to collaborate and agree on solution applications, while governance and culture ensure the cloud empowers critical workflows. Agencies need to work closely with policymakers to ensure that new capabilities keep pace with ever-changing conditions.

Success also requires industry partners who provide the tools, expertise, and experience to help create a platform for change. Most of all, experimentation is needed to truly see the impact of the cloud on mission workflows. Here is where to begin.

Empowering innovation with AI

Classified cloud’s security, agility, and capability activate new ways to deliver on mission priorities. Cloud platforms allow new, game-changing technologies to flourish, including GenAI, which delivers intuitive automation that supports, not supplants, human decision-makers and operators.

By shifting tedious, data-intensive tasks—including summarization, analysis, code development and more—to AI-powered copilots, users gain the freedom to find new ways to solve problems.

GenAI is most often delivered through cloud platforms due to the cost and complexity of building and maintaining these services locally. This as-a-service model delivers efficiency and performance within a managed, secure environment.

Where imagination meets implementation

Cloud-native services empower users to create vastly more efficient mission workflows using AI-powered solutions. Logistics teams, for example, can easily create secure, connected processes to support:

  • Real-time data integration and analysis. AI-powered predictive analytics enables more accurate ordering and transportation planning, reducing waste and improving responsiveness.
  • Better collaboration. Centralized access to data and applications enables faster, more informed supply chain planning to meet changing conditions.
  • Security and compliance. Some classified cloud platforms, such as Azure Government Secret, minimize risk by supporting security up to DoD Impact Level 6 (IL6) and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Intelligence Community Directive (ICD 503) accreditation with facilities at ICD 705. Cloud-native encryption tools and AI-based cybersecurity apps protect data from unauthorized use, while identity and access capabilities can be easily managed across the entire ecosystem.

Using the cloud to create enhanced mission workflows starts with a desired outcome, such as faster intelligence analysis and distribution. Agencies can define “what if?” scenarios and then use the full scope of cloud capabilities to investigate new ways to support the mission.

The essential elements for innovating in the cloud

The cloud makes it faster and easier to stand up testbeds to identify future challenges and solutions, from battling emerging threats to readying the organization for quantum computing. Preparing for a cloud-centric operating model takes a combination of elements, including:

  • Understanding mission problems that require a solution. Just because technology can be applied to a mission does not mean the use case reflects reality. Mission owners and technologists need to agree on the benefits of a solution from end to end: Does it solve a mission problem, and can it be supported by IT?
  • Effective governance and usage policies. Policymakers should be informed and educated on technological advancements to understand their capabilities and limitations. It is just as important to explain how innovative technology enhances mission capabilities. This clarity helps leaders develop appropriate guidelines for cloud usage, which helps prevent roadblocks to innovation.
  • Imagination and experimentation. Investigating new use cases in a pilot program or exercise is critical for assessing a technology’s effectiveness in overcoming mission challenges. This approach limits the risk of investing in “nice to have” solutions—or solutions that do not actually solve a problem.

An additional ingredient is the right technology partner, whose understanding of the mission is as important as delivering the appropriate technology.

Commercial cloud providers can innovate at scale and speed, often outpacing mission implementations. A trusted technology partner provides insights on how to use new cloud capabilities to move the mission forward. Their recommendations come from experience with both technology and the ways to achieve mission goals—essential elements for success.

Driving toward transformation

Beyond its exceptional performance, reliability, scalability, and speed, classified cloud’s security enables agencies to innovate with confidence. Classified cloud stands ready to support emerging technologies and mission objectives. With the support of a trusted partner, agencies can go beyond modernizing to truly transforming operations and accelerating mission priorities.

Learn how the cloud empowers agencies to innovate and activate new workflows at mission speed, quickly and securely. Read more: GenAI for US Federal Government (

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