What is GCC High, and is it the right cloud environment for you? In this post, we’ll break down what it is, how it’s different from other tenants, and if you should select it as your tenant.

What Is It?

GCC High is a secure cloud that is outside of Microsoft’s commercial cloud environment, and is designed to meet the needs of the DoD and Federal contractors that have special requirements around NIST 800-171, FedRAMP High, ITAR, and CUI/CDI data. It is reserved for Defense Industrial Base (DIB), DoD contractors, and Federal Agencies.

GCC vs. GCC High

GCC (Government Community Cloud), or, Microsoft 365 Government, is essentially a commercial tenant that only has data centers in the United States. This is mandated by FedRAMP, and any company working with the Government will need at least a GCC tenant. GCC tenants utilize the same functionality as commercial tenants, and new features are usually updated relatively soon after commercial tenants receive updates. It may take around 1 year for GCC High to receive updates featured in commercial tenants.

What Makes It Different Than a Commercial Tenant?

The most important feature in Government Community Cloud High is the additional security/safety precautions. Many cloud features and functionality are unavailable within this tenant due to security restrictions. Each new feature that is added into Microsoft must be vigorously tested in the DoD and GCC High Clouds to assure compliance and security. Microsoft also has a staff that has passed the Defense IT-2 adjudication based on an Office of Personnel Management investigation to develop and support application within GCC High.

This results in many features that are in a commercial tenant not being available in GCC High, or having to rebuild some tools that are critical. Tools such as Azure Sentinel, Cloud App Security, and Microsoft Defender are rebuilt from the ground up to ensure compliance and safety requirements are met. On the other hand, tools such as Yammer have no intention in being brought into GCC High due to the security risk involved.

Do You Need GCC High?

Total Solutions has experience with Government Community Cloud High environments, from initializing the tenant to understanding all security requirements that go into a government-controlled tenant. At the end of the day, there are a lot of different options to select when it comes to SharePoint tenants. It’s recommended that Government Contractors of all sizes make the switch to a GCC High tenant. This takes the hassle out of staying up to date on the latest requirements from the Government and putting it into Microsoft’s hands.

If you are looking to make a transition to an online tenant, and you work with the US Government, chances are this type of tenant is your only option.

Stay Up-to-Date with Microsoft’s Roadmap

Microsoft releases features weekly, and the best way to stay up-to-date on new information is by going to the Microsoft Roadmap and filtering to GCC High.  

If you have any questions about choosing the right tenant, migrating to Microsoft 365, or want to speak to a consultant, feel free to reach out via our Contact page — we’d love to chat with you!