Are you involved in government or defense contracting? If so, one of the many cloud options you can leverage is Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud (GCC). While GCC has many of the Microsoft 365 Commercial features, its data centers are in Continental US as mandated by FedRAMP moderate.   But what Microsoft 365 GCC plan is right for you? There are different Microsoft 365 Government plans, namely G1, G3, and G5. While all these plans offer robust security to Government data, their features, and security levels increase from G1 to G5.  However, this article will delve into the intricacies of Microsoft government G3 and G5, highlighting their features, compliance considerations, and benefits to government agencies and contractors. 

Microsoft 365 Government G3

Microsoft 365 G3 provides all the functionality of Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3. However, it is hosted in a separate, secure Azure environment. GCC G3 adds compliance features like personnel screening, accreditations, and data residency, enabling the service to meet the unique needs of US Government customers. For state and local government entities with stringent compliance and data security needs, Microsoft 365 G3 offers a robust solution tailored to meet those rigorous requirements.

This tier includes all Microsoft 365 GCC G1 features plus personalized search and discovery, Office desktop applications, self-service business intelligence, enterprise management of apps, Office 365 Message Encryption, eDiscovery tools, and hosted voicemail with auto-attendant capabilities. 

Microsoft 365 Government G5

This plan has all the functionalities of Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 but is hosted in a separate, secure environment. Like Microsoft G3, G5 also includes compliance features such as data residency, personnel screening, and accreditations, enabling the offering to meet the unique needs of US Government customers. Leveraging GCC G5, state and local government customers and contractors can achieve the data protection and security requirements set out in various regulations. G5 is an improvement of Microsoft G3 with extra capabilities such as unified communications, advanced eDiscovery with predictive coding and text analytics, personal and organizational analytics, Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection, and Audio Conferencing, among other services.

Comparing Microsoft 365 Government G3 and G5

As explained above, there are feature parities between Microsoft 365 Government G3 and G5.  This is how Microsoft 365 G3 and G5 compare in different areas:

Enhanced Security

A G3 License offers customers robust protections, including data loss prevention, rights management, and email encryption. However, a Microsoft 365 Government G5 license accords these protections, plus sophisticated defense against phishing and zero-day attacks. It also provides advanced threat protection and intelligence.

Business Intelligence

A Microsoft Government G5 license includes the versatile and robust business intelligence tool, Power BI.  This means that G5 customers can pull data from applications and various other data sources to create real-time, stunning dashboards that offer insights into their data. Power BI helps organizations make data-driven decisions regardless of their locations.  The platform empowers users to promptly identify patterns through an integrated, interactive dashboard displaying interconnected data visualizations. This unified view enables organizations to swiftly address emerging issues and capitalize on new opportunities as soon as they manifest. Unfortunately, Power BI is not a feature of Microsoft 365 Government G3.

Conferencing Features 

With Microsoft Teams, you already have the industry’s leading call, collaboration, and chat tool. However, with a GCC G5 license, you get even more. An organization with a G5 license can conduct a conferencing where invitees can dial in from their mobile phone or landline to join a Microsoft Teams Meeting. This comes in handy when an organization needs to include external participants in its meetings. A G5 user can leverage the Microsoft phone system to receive or make calls across various devices. They also can place international or domestic calls from already existing phone numbers.

Availability in Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) for Windows is a virtual Windows desktop that runs on Azure. It allows users to remotely access their desktops from any location or device. Microsoft 365 Government G3 and G5 are now available or eligible for AVD for Windows. From a compliance view, these plans do not need extra licenses to run on Azure Virtual Desktop for Windows.

Frequently Asked Questions

Microsoft 365 G3 GCC is a version of Microsoft 365 designed for government agencies. It offers compliance with federal regulations, increased security, and advanced features for collaboration and productivity.

Microsoft 365 G5, also known as GCC G5, is a comprehensive suite of Microsoft Office 365 services designed specifically for US government agencies and contractors to meet their unique requirements.

Microsoft 365 G3 GCC is available to U.S. federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government entities.

Microsoft 365 GCC G5 includes features like email and calendars, Office applications, file storage and sharing, online meetings and video conferencing, advanced analytics, and more. It also meets compliance requirements for US government agencies.

Microsoft 365 Government G5  differs from normal commercial Microsoft 365 in that it provides enhanced security and compliance services. It also meets specific government regulations and standards. It is available only to U.S. federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government entities.

Microsoft 365 G3 GCC offers features such as file storage and sharing, Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote), email and calendaring, and more. It also includes advanced security, compliance tools, and enterprise-level voice technology.

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microsoft 365 GCC High

What is GCC High?

Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud (GCC) High is a specialized cloud solution tailored for U.S. federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government organizations, as well as for contractors who hold or process data subject to specific security regulations. In this article, we will explore the features, benefits, and differences between Microsoft 365 GCC High and other Office 365 offerings.

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