When the terms government and Outlook are typically brought up together in the same context, thoughts of the resource intensive, feature heavy desktop clients outfitted with layers of 'secure read' protocols in place often come to mind for most.
Products such as Trello, Slack and even partially use of Microsoft's own Teams communication tool were designed to address the monolithic paradigm of email and the laggard workflow it's normally associated with, but have yet to address the almost infinite security concerns Outlook has done with ease.
However, Microsoft is attempting to upend that notion by providing the same security fidelity offered by its big-box Outlook software, on-the-go with a newly announced update to the architecture for Outlook for iOS and Android. The new architecture will meet the same security compliance needs found for users of the Office 365 US Government Community Cloud (GCC) High and the Department of Defense.
The long and short of it, US government users can now utilize their Outlook email and calendar accounts using Outlook mobile on their iOS and Android device, securely.
To meet the high level of government security and compliance requirements, we updated the Outlook mobile architecture to use a native Microsoft sync technology. This change intends to reduce latency and will provide access to new enterprise-grade features such as S/MIME as they roll out on the updated architecture over the coming months.
We will also be able to extend Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS) capabilities for Outlook for iOS and Android to GCC High and DoD customers so that they can combine the power of Outlook mobile with Azure Active Directory Conditional Access and Intune App Protection Policies to securely manage email and calendar data on their mobile devices.
Aside from expanding its mobile usage footprint, Microsoft's new Outlook Mobile development comes arguably as a ploy to bolster the company's bid to gain the highly coveted JEDI contract from the Department of Defense. The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, JEDI for short, is a multi-billion dollar cloud contract that cloud heavy businesses such as Microsoft and Amazon are fighting to win. As with the nature of the business, the details of JEDI are scant for the moment, but the DoD has set a March 21 deadline for proposals.
Microsoft announcing its new Outlook Mobile GCC High, DFARS, ITAR as well as DoD compliancy architecture and fairly seamless customer transitioning seems fairly coincidental in the shadow of its bid for the JEDI contract.
Never the less, government employees in the US are soon going to be able to log into and access their accounts on the go without having to pop open a laptop or a secondary SAT-secure mobile device.