This regular blog post from @James Lucier will bring you all the latest news and updates on GCC and GCC High. Got any news about GCC or GCC High? Message me @James Lucier.
With the end of summer and the turn to fall also comes another release cycle of features and services throughout Microsoft. GCC High is no exception as multiple services are rolling out that are closing some of the larger gaps in capability between commercial and GCC High. Here are the highlights:
One of the most highly sought-after features of the Office 365 commercial cloud is now available in the GCC High world, however there is a (big) caveat to this.
Microsoft recently released the ability to connect third party voice services to Microsoft Teams in GCC High through direct routing. This requires a third-party service with the ability to provide an approved session border controller connectivity to Microsoft. Typically, sessions border controllers are deployed as an extension of an on-premise voice system, making compatibility with hosted voice providers difficult. We are working to develop a list of hosted VoIP providers that can also provide this connectivity.
Teams is the hub for Teamwork in Office 365, but for GCC High clients, it has been lacking a lot of functionality the commercial cloud has had for the past two years. Now it looks like the GCC High tenants are going to get some desperately need updates which will allow users to really start using Teams.
Unified Presence: Similar to commercial, GCC High users will now be able to have presence work across all apps and devices. For this functionality to work the user needs to have their Skype for Business account to be hosted online, and not with an on-prem environment.
External access: GCC High users will now be able to seamlessly communicate with people outside of their organization. This functionality allows users from other domains to connect through chats or Teams calls. Admins will now have the ability to set up specific policies to decide how you can communicate externally.
Other features on the roadmap in the coming months are Teams Recordings allowing users will be able to record their meetings as well as save and share with Stream. Live Meetings, which provides the ability to broadcast meetings up to 10K plus people is also in the pipeline. Unfortunately, there is no timetable for these exciting features, but finally we can take Teams serious in GCC High.
With the upcoming release of Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), more controls will mean more complexity, especially with clients that regularly handle the most sensitive data. To help prepare for these requirements, as well as meet the current ones, here are some new security features you may be interested in.
Microsoft Defender ATP:: Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is now generally available for US GCC High customers (Windows 10 E5). This offering sits in the Azure Government environment and does not have full parity with commercial at this time. However, this is still a very powerful tool that will help many clients become more compliant, and more importantly secure their computers even more.
Upcoming E5 Security Updates: Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS) and Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) are still targeting General Availability (GA) for US GCC High customers in Q4 CY19. MCAS and Azure ATP are currently in private preview with a subset of GCC High customers and we continue to track general availability in late 2019, pending FedRAMP authorization.
Contact GCC High Support now through the Office 365 admin portal: Admins now can send support requests directly in their GCC High Office 365 admin tenants. We still recommend to call GCC High support if there is a global tenant issue. For all of our Professional Services clients you can still email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
It has been a little over a year, but GCC High is really starting to take shape. As always, reach out to us if you have any questions, and continue to keep locking your tenants down. You can always reach out to email@example.com for general questions or to me personally, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Wootton is the Founder and President of C3 Integrated Solutions, a full-service IT provider based in Arlington, VA that specializes in securing our nation’s Defense Industrial Base through cloud-based solutions and industry leading partners. Bill is passionate about bringing cyber-awareness, and cyber-maturity to the nation’s Defense Industrial Base, working with clients to help them achieve CMMC and NIST 800-171 compliance by providing MSP, security and Office 365 integration services.