What does GCC stand for in Microsoft?

What is Microsoft 365 GCC High?

“GCC” stands for Government Community Cloud. GCC High is a dedicated cloud solution developed by Microsoft for Government organizations, cleared personnel, and DoD contractors that hold or process data subject to specific security regulations. It is called GCC “HIGH” because it meets FedRAMP “High” impact requirements. Microsoft Office 365 GCC High was developed to ensure compliance with various federal regulations and cybersecurity such as ITAR, FedRAMP High, DFARS, DISA Cloud Computing (CC) SRG IL 4, and CJIS, among others. The data centers hosting this cloud environment are located only within the US and solely operated by US-based, restricted personnel.

What are the Features of Microsoft Office 365 GCC High?

So, what are the key features of Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud High? Below are some of the key features:

Data residency refers to the physical location of an organization’s data. For Microsoft 365 GCC High, all customer data, content, and metadata are stored within the US. This is crucial for government agencies and federal contractors as it ensures compliance with strict government regulations, like the ITAR, that mandate domestic data storage.

Microsoft GCC High tenants operate on a dedicated infrastructure, separate from the standard Microsoft 365 commercial offerings. Thus, Government agencies’ and contractors’ data is stored in a distinct environment, isolated from data in Microsoft’s commercial cloud. This dedicated infrastructure provides an additional layer of security, ensuring that sensitive government data is not inadvertently mixed with other data.

Compliance with regulatory and security standards is critical for any technology used within the government sector. Microsoft 365 GCC High meets government security standards, including FedRAMP High, DFARS, CMMC Level 3, DoD SRG IL 4, NIST SP 800-53/171, and ITAR.

Security is paramount for government organizations and the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). Microsoft 365 GCC High incorporates advanced security measures such as multi-factor authentication and encryption to address this. All its services are also FedRAMP authorized at a baseline impact level. It means that all its services and products have implemented the required security measures for cloud computing environments and the services interacting with CUI. To help with identity and access management (IAM), Office 365 GCC High is paired with Microsoft Entra ID in Azure Government. However, its users can integrate Okta into their tenants to extend the IAM capabilities.

Can you access GCC high from outside the US?

Where is GCC High Located?

GCC High is hosted on Azure Government, whose data centers are located in 8 geographical locations within the US. Personnel working in these locations must be US citizens who have passed various background checks. All data (file shares, emails, and collaborations) are stored in the US. Thus, organizations that interact with data subject to export controls Azure Government tenants can benefit by migrating to Azure Government. In fact, Microsoft will only support US data sovereignty that is required for NOFORN and ITAR-controlled information in GCC High.

What is the difference between Azure government and Azure commercial?

What Makes GCC High Different from Microsoft Commercial Cloud?

Extra security/safety precautions are the most crucial feature of Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud High. It resides in Azure Government Cloud, which uses physically isolated networks and data centers located within the US only. In contrast, Microsoft Commercial Cloud environments are hosted on Azure Commercial and are available in 60+ regions globally. Personnel and staff developing and supporting applications within M365 GCC High undergo thorough background checks. They must pass the Defense IT-2 adjudication, which is based on a successful OPM Tier 3 investigation. As a result, many features available in Microsoft Commercial Cloud tenants are unavailable in Office 365 GCC High. Any new feature to be added to this environment must be vigorously tested to ensure security and compliance. Microsoft GCC High is one of the two environments hosted in the US Sovereign Cloud, the other being Microsoft Office 365 DoD.

Who Needs GCC High?

Who is Eligible For Microsoft Office 365 GCC High?

Office 365 GCC High was designed to be used by organizations in the DIB, Federal Agencies, cleared personnel, and DoD contractors. Microsoft determines an organization’s eligibility fo this cloud environment High based on its need to handle some types of sensitive government data. Thus, if your organization creates, processes, manages, stores, or transmits the following types of data, you might need Office 365 GCC High:

Organizations that hold CUI specified, which requires US Sovereignty (such as CUI marked NOFORN, CDI, and Nuclear Information (DoD UCNI and DoE UCNI), FERC/NERC) also qualify. However, the organization must be US-controlled or located in the US, have a valid requirement to handle sensitive government data, ITAR or CUI, and be able to show compliance with required regulatory and security standards. Any contract subject to DFARS 7012 will need GCC. However, if such a contract has a US-only requirement, covered information with sovereignty, or export control requirements like ITAR, then you will need Office 365 GCC High. However, your organization must first receive a GCC High Validation before migrating into the cloud environment.

When Should I Choose GCC High?

Microsoft designed Azure GCC High specifically to meet the needs of the DIB. Residing in Azure Gov, this cloud environment offers a top-tier standard for defense industry compliance. When should you consider M365 Government Community Cloud High?

  • If you hold or plan to hold export-controlled data subject to EAR or ITAR. GCC and Microsoft 365 commercial can’t support export-controlled information. This is because the two don’t guarantee data residency and other stringent measures required under export control regulations.
  • If you hold or might a type of CUI specified that requires US data sovereignty. M365 Commercial and GCC tenants don’t support US data sovereignty requirements. While Microsoft 365 DoD tenant supports data sovereignty, it isn’t available for defense contractors. M365 DoD is exclusive to the Department of Defense.
  • If you currently don’t hold export-controlled data but might take steps to migrate to a GCC High tenant in the future. Remember, moving from one cloud environment to another needs a disruptive full tenant migration. Thus, you could save money by choosing it  now rather than later.

GCC could be enough for those who don’t hold or even expect to ever deal with export-controlled data subject to EAR and ITAR. However, if the conditions above apply to your contract, consider migrating to an Azure GCC High 365 tenant.

Microsoft 365 GCC High Eligibility Validation

GCC High Validation

Every customer who hopes to migrate to Microsoft Office 365 GCC High must first obtain validation from Microsoft. This process aims to verify an organization’s eligibility as a US federal, state, local, or tribal government entity, solution provider serving US federal, state, local, or tribal government entities, or customer handling government-controlled data. We’ve covered the process in detail in our blog GCC High Validation. An organization can purchase various Dynamics 365 GCC High products and add-ons only after validation.

Why Should You Migrate to GCC High?

Benefits of Microsoft 365 GCC High

Does your organization meet the Microsoft GCC High Eligibility criteria described above? If yes, migrating to a GCC High tenant can benefit you in multiple ways. Below are the benefits of O365 Government Community Cloud High migration.

Enhanced Security

Microsoft 365 GCC High provides advanced threat protection, privileged access management, and enhanced data protection controls. GCC High is assessed using the NIST SP 800-53 controls at a FIPS 199 High Categorization and has achieved FedRAMP High baseline requirements. For contractors handling sensitive government information, Office 365 GCC High is not only a suitable choice for enhanced security but also compliance.

Compliance Certainty

Does your contract have a DFARS 7012 requirement? Are you planning to bid for contracts under CMMC Levels 2 or 3 in the future? Or does your contract mandate exclusive execution by individuals who are citizens or residents of the US? Stay compliant by migrating to GCC High. Being hosted in Azure Government Cloud is a guarantees that only US citizens will have access to your data. It is also the only solution you can implement if your organization handles any data subject to ITAR. With regards to CMMC, the proposed rule requires that if using a CSP, they must be at least FedRAMP moderate baseline equivalent. GCC High has achieved FedRAMP High baseline requirements. Hence, it can help with your CMMC and DFARS 7012 compliance efforts.

Boosts Collaboration

Microsoft 365 GCC High empowers secure collaboration to drive productivity for sensitive US public sector workloads. Features like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Teams support real-time document co-authoring, internal sharing, connecting via chat and video meetings, and seamlessly working together using cloud technology. GCC High makes sharing data with other DoD and GCC High users and organizations simple and secure. Stringent access controls ensure that only authorized and vetted US persons can access and collaborate on your most sensitive data. Advanced data security minimizes exposure to risk.

Boosts Efficiency

Microsoft 365 GCC High boosts efficiency for DoD contractors by enabling easy collaboration using tools hosted in the secure Azure Government Cloud. With Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud High, the DIB can streamline operations, reducing IT overhead. By facilitating safe and compliant collaboration with best-in-class applications, it drives productivity gains allowing mission-focused agencies to achieve more without compromising their stringent security and data protection needs.

Compliance and Security

Microsoft 365 GCC High is meticulously designed to meet the rigorous compliance and security requirements of government entities. It holds several key certifications and accreditations, which are a testament to its robust security framework:

  • Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) High: This program standardizes security assessment and authorization for cloud products and services used by federal agencies.
  • Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS): Microsoft 365 GCC High meets specific mandatory cybersecurity requirements that federal contractors must put in place to safeguard covered defense information.
  • International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR): The cloud environment can be used by contractors handling sensitive technical data on defense articles and services. It is compliant with the ITAR, which is a set of regulations controlling the export, manufacturing, brokerage, or import of defense-related articles and services on the USML.
  • Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Security Policy: Office 365 GCC High can be used by criminal justice and law enforcement agencies. It meets the policy’s requirements for the creation, viewing, modification, transmission, dissemination, storage, and destruction of Criminal Justice Information (CJI).
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 1075: This provides guidance to ensure the policies, practices, controls, and safeguards employed by recipient agencies adequately protect the confidentiality of Federal Tax Information. Azure Government High meets the IRS’s requirements for federal tax information confidentiality and safeguards.

These certifications and accreditations underscore Microsoft 365 GCC High’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of security and compliance, making it a trusted choice for government entities.

Microsoft Government Cloud

GCC Vs. GCC High Vs. Microsoft 365 DoD

Microsoft offers three cloud environments to meet the unique and evolving requirements of the cleared organizations dealing with sensitive government information. These are Microsoft GCC, GCC High, and DoD. While they are designed for this particular purpose, these cloud environments differ and compare in some areas as shown below:

Microsoft office 365 GCC High vs. GCC vs. DoD

ITAR Compliance

Is Microsoft GCC High ITAR Compliant?

Yes, Microsoft 365 GCC High meets the requirements for ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) compliance. Specifically:

  • It is hosted in Microsoft Azure Government Cloud, which has data centers only in the US to allow data residency.
  • Access to customer data is limited to screened personnel who are US citizens. This meets ITAR regulations around restricted data access.
  • Extensive auditing, accreditations, and compliance certifications like FedRAMP High, CJIS, and DISA SRG Level 5 ensure conformance to government standards.
  • Features like customer key encryption, privileged access management, and sandbox execution minimize data exposure risks.

We have covered ITAR compliance extensively in our blog.

CMMC 2.0 Compliance, CMMC Certification

Is GCC High Required for CMMC?

NO. GCC High is NOT required to meet CMMC requirements at any level. However, choosing the right cloud environment is one step towards achieving CMMC 2.0 compliance. While there are many CSPs, migrating to a Microsoft Cloud, be it GCC High or GCC, is beneficial because you’ll inherit the controls Microsoft has built for compliance. This can save a defense contractor significant time and work compared to building data centers and putting up measures to achieve CMMC compliance. In fact, Microsoft recommends that organizations that require or are planning to meet CMMC 2.0 levels 2 and 3 security requirements move to Azure High  GCC tenant. However, doesn’t mean you MUST deploy this tenant. You can use Microsoft GCC to meet CMMC 2.0 Level 2 requirements if your contract doesn’t include NOFORN, EAR, and ITAR requirements. If they apply, migrating to Azure Gov. Community Cloud High is necessary.

You might think migrating to GCC now and later into GCC High is easier, but this will always disrupt your organization’s day-to-day activities. Cloud migrations require lots of work and often result in some downtime. Sadly, organizations cannot just flip a switch to move from commercial to Government cloud; Microsoft doesn’t provide this option. Every move to a different cloud environment needs a complete migration process. Successful cloud migration requires experienced professionals to complete.

Will Microsoft 365 GCC High Automatically Make You Ready For CMMC 2.0 Certification?

No, it needs a proper setup and continuing management to ensure CMMC compliance, just like any other tool. It’s important to note that while Microsoft ensures its infrastructure and practices are compliant, its GCC High offering is not a complete solution for CMMC certification. Organizations are still responsible for configuring, deploying, and managing it in a compliant manner. GCC High customers can use various products hosted in Azure Government to help in their journey to CMMC 2.0 compliance. Configuring these products properly can help meet many CMMC and NIST SP 800-171 controls. Fortunately, Cleared Systems offers a full suite of GCC High services to help organizations achieve and maintain compliance. Some of these services include:

  • Helping you with the Microsoft GCC High Eligibility Validation Process
  • GCC High Migration Consulting and Implementation Planning
  • Security and Compliance Consulting
  • Ongoing Support and Optimization

Reach out to our team of experts today for comprehensive answers to all your queries and begin the process of crafting a GCC High licensing and implementation strategy.

What Are The Limitations of GCC High?

While M365 GCC High offers many benefits to OSCs, there are downsides you must carefully consider when migrating into it. Its users will only share files and data with other companies in GCC High and DoD tenants. Additionally, non-GCC High email addresses attached to user profiles are NOT supported and will NOT allow alert emails to be sent. If your company conducts substantial non-DoD contracting or CUI-related activities, this could be a problem if sharing with external parties or B2B collaboration is a critical component of your business processes. Thus, you should carefully examine the missing features in Office 365 GCC High and consider their impacts. This is especially significant for those organizations with Microsoft commercial tenants.

DFARS 252.204-7012 compliance consulting

Do I Need Office 365 GCC High for DFARS 7012 Compliance?

Not necessarily. While DFARS 7012 compliance can be met by deploying environments hosted in Azure Government, defense contractors do not have to use GCC or GCC High to achieve DFARS 7012 compliance. Many other solutions in the market can be used for this purpose. However, Microsoft 365 Government Community Cloud High is, in most instances, the best option. To meet the requirements of DFARS 7012(m), Microsoft signs a contractual Flow-Down in GCC High and Azure Government. Thus, Microsoft contractually commits to demonstrating DFARS 7012 compliance in the US Sovereign Cloud and aligning it with NIST SP 800-171 in a shared responsibility model.

Key Considerations before Azure GCCH Migration

What Are Considerations When Migrating To GCC High?

Most defense contractors migrate to Azure Government to achieve CMMC, DFARS, and ITAR compliance. For many businesses, this transition is often the first. However, others are usually in a non-compliant cloud and looking to move into a compliant one. For those unaware of the challenges, migrating to GCC high can be challenging. Before migrating from Microsoft Commercial Cloud to Azure Gov., consider some factors. GCC High pricing is one of many things to consider. Before starting your GCC High licensing process, consider things like:


GCC High restricts sharing data with or connecting to other CSPs to fulfill security and compliance requirements. Unfortunately, what was intended as a good thing can also be an issue for many clients looking to migrate services such as mail into Exchange Online into M365 GCCH. As mentioned elsewhere within this article, Microsoft doesn’t allow the allowlisting of IP ranges. Rather, IPs must be allowlisted as single units.


Labeling is essential to classification, especially in meeting regulatory compliance. But what is labeling? Within Azure and Office 365 spheres, the term label can be confusing. However, CUI must be appropriately labeled and marked for a more straightforward classification. Labeling can be split into either AIP labeling or unified labeling. AIP labels can be found in the Azure portal and require the installation of an AIP client only on Windows 10. Unified Labelling (UL) is a newer and better version than AIP and includes the Security and Compliance Center labels. Additionally, a single label can be associated with multiple policies in UL. Unlike AIP labeling, you can use unified labels in other systems like MAC. UL in Azure Information Protection makes classification and controlling documents much more effortless.

Feature Parity

Feature parity is a considerable decision point for organizations moving to GCC high. However, it also is critical when it comes to managing end-user expectations before migration. Before migrating to a GCC High tenant, you must know the unavailable features and products. Features like Microsoft StaffHub, Microsoft MyAnalytics, and Office Delve, among others, aren’t available in a M365 GCCH tenant. Additionally, product availability doesn’t mean that all its features in Commercial of Azure GCC tenants will be available in GCCH. For instance, Microsoft Forms is fully available in the government clouds. However, the following features aren’t available for GCC High at this time: Customer Voice (Forms Pro), office integration, math, external sharing, and email notification.

While working with Azure information protection to encrypt your data, you should understand the intricacies of sending encrypted mails between M365 GCCH and other third-party or commercial tenants. For instance, everything works as necessary when sending an email from a GCC High tenant to a GCC High tenant works as expected. However, sending emails between Azure GCC high tenants to third-party or commercial will only happen in a browser with an OTP. Therefore, you must consider the product and feature availability before a GCC high migration. Additionally, consider the nuances of working with features like integrating Excel with Power BI.

M365 GCC High Migration Tools

Using the right migration tool can help smooth the process. Whether moving from one tenant to another, from a hybrid environment to a GCCH tenant, or on-premises to Azure GCC high, you must choose the right migration tool. Using the right GCC high migration tool will keep the end-user impact minimal. There are many migration tools out there, each developed for a specific purpose.

OneDrive and Exchange Online

When migrating Exchange Online from another cloud provider to Azure GCCH, you can use a combination of SkyKick and BitTitan. During migration of OneDrive content, you must ensure there’s no accidental content duplication. When transitioning a user between tenants, their OneDrive content may remain locally stored, leading to potential duplicate downloads and uploads during connection to the new tenant. However, BitTitan and ShareGate are tools you can use to migrate your OneDrive content.

Multi-Factor Authentication and Distribution Lists

Multi-factor authentication doesn’t have a clear migration path. Instead, its settings must be reconfigured in the new tenant, which is true when migrating O365 MFA to Azure MFA Conditional Access. Does your company heavily rely on distribution lists? Then, they also need to be migrated into the new tenant. However, you must review them and remove any that aren’t in use before determining who manages the lists. The process forward will vary depending on whether end users or your IT teams manage them. For instance, if your IT team manages the distribution lists, you can recreate them using AD Connect to synchronize your Active Directory in the new tenant.

SharePoint and Microsoft Teams

If you have to migrate SharePoint to the new tenant, you can use ShareGate. The tool operates on a standalone server, utilizing Azure Cloud Storage to expedite migrations in environments with a lot of data. Organizations may require Team migration from a commercial to a GCC High environment in specific cases. FLY by AvePoint is a tool designed for this, using on-premises servers for comprehensive migration. A notable advantage is its ability to migrate the entire tenant, even in a GCC High environment, leveraging a dedicated static IP for Microsoft allowlisting.

Depending on the product you plan to migrate into an Azure GCC High tenant, there are many tools. Thus, ensure that you select the right tool, as it directly correlates with the difficulty of the entire process. However, no matter how efficient the tool is, you still need a professional with expertise in compliance and GCC high migrations. A tool must ensure a simple, secure, and comprehensive process.

O365 GCC High Support

You also must consider support from Microsoft, your new tenant. The Azure GCC High support and engineering group comprises a small team. While Microsoft is renowned for its services, particularly Government SaaS, it may still experience occasional problems. Thus, you should choose the right licensing partner from which you buy services and licenses. At Cleared Systems, we’ll help you not only with licensing and migrations but also provide the required implementation, configuration, and support. O365 GCCH migration is a complex journey that you best not take alone. Let us be your partner for a secure, comprehensive, and smooth transition.

Other critical factors to consider before migrating to GCC High are comprehensively covered here.

How do I get high GCC?

How to Buy Microsoft 365 Government GCC High

Visit the Microsoft website to learn more about Microsoft 365 Government GCC High and its features. Once you have determined to move your organization to Microsoft 365 Government GCC High, Microsoft must validate its eligibility. This can be done by completing and submitting a Government Community Cloud Eligibility Intake Form. If your organization is found eligible, you can partner with GCC High resellers to purchase your license.  Fortunately, Cleared Systems has got you covered for all your GCC High Licensing needs. With our Microsoft Volume Licensing experience, we’ll help tailor your licenses according to your business size and needs. 

GCC High Pricing

How Much Does M365 GCC High Cost?

Azure GCC High is available as Microsoft 365 G1, G3, and G5 licenses that translate to E1, E3, and E5 in enterprise SKUs. The security features and product restrictiveness increase from G1 to G5. Thus, O365 Government Comunity Cloud High costs considerably more than GCC and other commercial versions. In fact, you should expect 50% more on average on GCC High License costs compared to equivalent enterprise licenses. But what are the reasons for the variance in Microsoft 365 GCC High pricing versus commercial or GCC tenants?

Why Does Microsoft 365 GCC High Cost More?

Additional Licensing

As explained above, most organizations migrate to GCC high to comply with ITAR, DFARS 7012, CMMC 2.0, and other security reasons. However, the compliance and security goals necessitate additional features and products that must be included in the cheaper license types. For instance, an O365 E1 license won’t meet DFARS 7012 requirements. Thus, part of the higher expenses comes from a need for extra features found under Microsoft Defender for O365 Licenses and the Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S) suite. Since more capabilities mean more cost, GCC High Office 365 Cloud will cost you more.

Enhanced Compliance Features 

To meet export-control data requirements such as ITAR and EAR, Microsoft has heavily invested in all aspects of GCC High Office 365 to ensure US Data residency. In GCC High tenants, all data resides within the continental US (CONUS). Additionally, personnel who work in these data centers not only are US persons but also must pass a thorough background screening. These additional expenses of ensuring that GCC High infrastructure is logically and physically separated contribute to the high price.

Extra Security 

Microsoft needs to institute more security measures to meet the enhanced compliance described above. As you might suspect, this will cost them more money to run data centers and implement security measures. The main reason why companies opt for cloud over on-premises operations is because of the high cost of on-premises resiliency measures. For GCC High customers, these costs are borne by Microsoft. Thus, this is likely reflected in extra expenses in Government Community Cloud High pricing. As mentioned above, O365 GCC High data centers meet FedRAMP High security requirements and DISA CC SRG IL 4. As a result, increased access control measures and higher physical security enhance overall compliance.

How Long Does It Take to Get GCC High?

From an administrative viewpoint, GCC High acquisition and deployment follows a clear process. Understanding this process can help you easily transition from a commercial deployment to another Government cloud. Below is an approximate estimation of the period it takes to complete validation, licensing, allowlisting, tenant provisioning, and migration:

Validation by Microsoft

Before an organization can purchase a GCC High license, Microsoft must validate its eligibility. This process may take between 5-10 business days. However, this might take longer if there are interruptions. For those organizations starting the eligibility validation process, knowing when there will be an increase in demands can be a hurdle. Thus, when you determine that a migration to Microsoft GCCH is necessary, begin the validation process.

GCC High Licensing

After Microsoft Validates your organization’s eligibility for GCC High, you can begin the licensing process. Licensing often takes about 2-10 days. If the administrative processes like payment processing are completed quickly, the licensing process takes a shorter period.

Tenant Provisioning

Tenant provisioning is a critical capability for any cloud foundation. While Microsoft maintains a 30-day Service Level Agreement (SLA) for tenant provisioning, this time has drastically dropped recently. Sometimes, the setup takes less than 7 days. However, it all depends on Microsoft. Thus, ensure that you plan accordingly.


When it comes to connecting to other CSPs, GCC High Office 365 is highly restrictive. While deliberately set up like that for a good reason, this has been a challenge for most organizations migrating file sharing and mail into Exchange Online within GCC High.Allowlisting IPs is one way around this issue. However, Microsoft doesn’t allow allowlisting of IP ranges. Thus, the IPs must be allowlisted individually. This process may take 5-10 days, depending on one’s experience setting up M365 GCCH tenants.

Migrating to Microsoft 365 GCC High

Finally, the much-awaited step is migrating to a GCC High tenant. This can take days or weeks and largely depends on which platform you’re migrating from. Some platforms don’t allow automation, while others do not provide a static IP, resulting in allowlisting issues. However, attention to detail and patience are necessary in this step to prevent any problems. Additionally, the migration process’s speed and efficiency depend on the team’s experience.

Challenges to GCC High Migration

While there are many benefits to moving operations into GCC High, there are challenges to the migration process. Some of the challenges include:

  • Complexity: GCCH migrations are highly complex, requiring deep knowledge of Power Platform, Azure, networking, and configuring applications properly. Unfortunately, few have undertaken these migrations, so there is little expertise to leverage.
  • Resource Needs: Migrating to GCCH demands significant staff resources to reconfigure endpoints, remake customized services, adjust subnets and IP addresses, and more. Skilled migration teams have many labor-intensive tasks spanning networks, software, platforms, databases, etc.
  • Downtime Impacts: When moving core systems to GCCH, some degree of downtime for data transfers and cutovers is typically unavoidable. For revenue-driving applications, even minor disruptions hurt business operations, revenues, and customer service levels.
  • Cost: The other challenge to M365 GCCH migration is the cost of migration, especially for smaller organizations. This includes the cost of licensing, data movement, and configuring the new environment.

Therefore, companies must extensively analyze if the security and compliance benefits outweigh the profound operational challenges involved in the migration. They should migrate only when necessary.

Licensing and Service Availability

While Microsoft 365 GCC High offers enhanced security and compliance features, it also comes with certain limitations in terms of licensing and service availability. The following table provides an overview of the licensing differences and available services in GCC High compared to other offerings:

microsoft 365 GCC High

It’s important to note that some services available in Microsoft 365 Commercial and Microsoft 365 GCC may not be available in GCC High due to the specific security requirements and restrictions. Organizations should carefully review the services and features they need before selecting a Microsoft 365 offering


Microsoft 365 GCC High is a powerful cloud offering designed to meet the stringent security and compliance requirements of U.S. government organizations and their partners. With dedicated infrastructure, enhanced security features, and compliance with various government standards, it provides a secure environment for managing and protecting sensitive data. While it may not offer the same range of services as the commercial or standard GCC offerings, it remains an excellent choice for organizations that need to adhere to strict regulations and safeguard critical information.

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