NSA OKs Microsoft Surface for Classified Workloads

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The National Security Agency approved both Windows 10 and Surface devices to be operated with classified workloads under the Commercial Solutions for Classified Programs list, Microsoft announced on Friday.

“This means that our Department of Defense customers can now use Surface devices to work on classified and sensitive material with full confidence that they fulfill the NSA’s Commercial Solutions for Classified criteria,” Susie Adams, chief technology officer at Microsoft Federal, said in a blog post.

According to the NSA resource page, “Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) Program has been established to enable commercial products to be used in layered solutions protecting classified NSS [National Security Systems] data. This will provide the ability to securely communicate based on commercial standards in a solution that can be fielded in months, not years.”

In addition to NSA approval, Microsoft announced the introduction of Surface Enterprise Management Mode, which enables certified users to manage the hardware configuration of Microsoft devices.

“Surface is also enabling enterprises to take ownership, modify, lock out and otherwise control hardware configuration, security and OS behaviors via Surface Enterprise Management Mode (SEMM),” Bret Arsenault, chief information security officer at Microsoft, said in a post announcing the capability.

SEMM provides IT managers with the authority to enable and disable hardware pieces, such as the camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB port, while preventing tampering from unlicensed individuals.

“Adding SEMM on top of Windows 10 is especially attractive to Federal government customers since they can use this capability to protect against unauthorized device use and manage their IT operations more securely,” said Adams. “When coupled with the built-in security features of Windows 10, it’s a benefit for those who support sensitive and classified data and helps agencies further accelerate their mobile deployments.”

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