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  • Writer's pictureAegisbyte

Azure OpenAI Receives P-ATO granted by FedRAMP

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service has successfully obtained the U.S. Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) High Provisional Authorization to Operate (P-ATO), granted by the FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB). This significant achievement builds on our prior announcement regarding the deployment of Azure OpenAI Service in commercial environments for Azure Government customers. With the recent FedRAMP High authorization, agencies demanding FedRAMP High can directly engage with Azure OpenAI within Azure's commercial infrastructure.

Microsoft officially unveiled its Azure OpenAI Service for governmental use in early June. This launch facilitates federal agencies' access to robust language models operable within Microsoft's U.S. government-focused cloud service, Azure Government. The service enables government departments to tailor language models, including GPT-3 and GPT-4, for particular tasks such as content creation, summarization, semantic search, and natural language-to-code translation.

These language models are seamlessly operable within Azure Government, Microsoft’s dedicated cloud service for U.S. government agencies. Microsoft assures that Azure OpenAI Service maintains a firewall with Microsoft's corporate network, and no governmental agency data contributes to OpenAI model training.

This recent authorization follows an impact level 2 provisional authorization from the Defense Information Systems Agency. The recognitions arrived post an inquiry launched by the Federal Trade Commission into potential consumer protection violations by OpenAI. The FTC alleged in a formal letter to OpenAI, claiming the company employed deceptive or unfair privacy or data security practices, resulting in reputational damage. The commission dispatched the letter in response to consumers' grievances that ChatGPT propagated “false, misleading, disparaging, or harmful” information about individuals. This milestone also aligns with several government agencies’ interest in how generative artificial intelligence, the technology fueling ChatGPT, can be adapted for diverse use cases.

Users can access the Azure OpenAI Service via REST APIs, Python SDK, or Microsoft’s web-based interface in the Azure AI Studio. This service is readily available to all Azure Government customers and partners.

Microsoft emphasizes its commitment to safeguarding government customers' data, privacy, and security by encrypting all Azure traffic within a region or between regions using MACsec, employing AES-128 block cipher for encryption.

Achieving the FedRAMP High authorization demonstrates conformity with the rigorous security standards that the federal government imposes on cloud service providers. The authorization allows government users and developers to incorporate Azure OpenAI’s foundation models, such as GPT-4, GPT-3.5, and DALL-E, into their cloud applications. The service offers high-performance AI models on a production scale with unparalleled uptime.

The Azure OpenAI service fosters a myriad of use cases to aid government users in supporting their unique missions, including capabilities to:

  1. Expedite content generation: Automatically produce responses based on mission or project inquiries, reducing research and analysis effort, and enabling teams to concentrate on higher-level decision-making and strategic tasks.

  2. Simplify content summarization: Generate succinct summaries of logs and facilitate quick analysis of articles, analysts, and field reports.

  3. Enhance Semantic search optimization: Refine the accuracy of search results by comprehending the intent behind a user's query.

  4. Provide Code generation and rectification: Produce code from natural language descriptions or rectify errors in existing code.

For secure access to Azure OpenAI Service by government tenants, we have formulated a detailed guide on establishing secure connectivity between government and commercial tenants utilizing Azure’s robust backbone.

The FedRAMP High authorization underscores our relentless commitment to ensure government agencies can access state-of-the-art AI technologies while adhering to stringent security and compliance requisites. We eagerly anticipate empowering federal agencies to transform their mission-critical operations with Azure OpenAI and unlock new insights powered by Generative AI.




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