This article focuses on the eligibility for Microsoft Government Cloud services.
Microsoft expands qualification of contractors for government cloud offerings
The primary change to the qualification requirements includes the ability for non-government service providers and contractors to prove eligibility with a U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) System for Award Management (SAM) Registration.
For additional methods to prove eligibility, please see below under “Validation Submission Directions”.
Historically, eligibility has been a hurdle for U.S. Government contractors and the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) to provide documentation from a government customer. This has been especially challenging for contractors that are pursuing new contracts with the government but have not yet been awarded a contract. It is a chicken-and-egg scenario, as these contractors may require the use of Microsoft Government Cloud offers to help demonstrate compliance with government regulations required for contract award. In addition, the contractors who are levels deep in the supply chain may not have a direct relationship with a government customer to solicit the requisite documentation.
By adding SAM.GOV registrations to the qualification requirements, non-government service providers and contractors may prove eligibility without having to provide a government agency sponsorship letter or signed contract. The GSA SAM registration is free and may be obtained relatively quickly. You will need to provide Microsoft with documentation including a valid CAGE Code or full SAM registration. A CAGE Code (also known as SAMs) is a five-character ID number used by the GSA to identify vendors. CAGE stands for “Commercial And Government Entity”. Alternatively, if you prefer to provide your SAM registration, as opposed to a CAGE Code, you will need to furnish your company’s DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number. We will look up your SAM registration using your DUNS number.
Note: The purpose of your SAM registration should be for “All Awards”. We cannot use it if the purpose is for “Federal Assistance Awards Only”.
Microsoft Government Cloud qualification
Microsoft Government cloud offers are available to eligible government customers and non-government organizations sponsored to hold or process controlled information. The eligibility criteria are consistent across the Microsoft Government cloud offers, to include the following:
Microsoft Azure Government
Microsoft 365 Government (GCC)
Dynamics 365 Government (GCC)
Microsoft 365 Government (GCC High)
Dynamics 365 Government (GCC High)
An eligible government customer is defined by one of the following categories:
Category 1 “U.S. Government” entity:
A federal agency, defined as a bureau, office, agency, department, or other entity of the U.S. Government
A state/local entity, defined as one of the following:
Any agency of a state or local government in the U.S.
Any U.S. county, borough, commonwealth, city, municipality, town, township, special purpose district, or other similar type of governmental instrumentality established by the laws of a customer’s state and located within the customer’s state’s jurisdiction and geographic boundaries
The District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands
A tribal entity, defined as a federally recognized tribal entity eligible for funding and services from the U.S. Department of Interior by virtue of its status as an Indian tribe, or, in Alaska, a native village or Alaska Regional Native corporation, or, in Hawaii, a Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO)
Category 2 “Solution Provider”: A non-government solution provider doing business with a valid U.S. Government entity
Category 3 “Contractor”: A non-government organization who holds the following types of data:
International Traffic in Arms (ITAR)
Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI)
Department of Defense (DoD) Covered Defense Information (CDI)
Department of Defense (DoD) Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information (UCNI)
Department of Energy (DoE) Unclassified Controlled Nuclear Information (UCNI)
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Information
Criminal Justice Information (CJI)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1075 Information
Other types of data that require Microsoft Government Clouds
Note: An international commercial entity may qualify, though regulated data may be required to purchase the service through their U.S. subsidiary using U.S. locations only.
Any entity that qualifies for any of the three categories is eligible to purchase any of the Microsoft Government cloud offers. In the past, only Categories 1 and 3 were eligible to purchase GCC or GCC High. That is no longer the case. Category 2 Service Providers are now eligible to purchase GCC and GCC High as well.
Validation Submission Directions
All validation requests can now be submitted directly through our online portal. Please submit for validation using one of the links below:
The following documentation is accepted for validation:
A valid CAGE Code or full SAM Registration (with DUNS) to determine eligibility to do business with the U.S. Government (sam.gov)
A copy of Government signed contract (direct or indirect), signed PO, or signed Invoice from a valid U.S. Government entity, or another eligible partner directly doing business with a valid U.S. Government entity
Documented evidence of a Government contract through a GSA Schedule contract (Direct or Indirect) or the contract number
A sponsor letter directly from a valid US Government entity, or another previously approved government contractor or solution provider directly doing business with a valid US Government entity, including their signature (ink or certified electronic) and letterhead, supporting an established business relationship between that Government or approved government contractor or solution provider and your business. (A sample sponsor letter is attached if needed)
Any documentation proving status as a Category 1 U.S. Government entity
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