Plan for Microsoft 365 Government - GCC deployments

This guidance is for IT pros who are driving deployments of Office 365 in US federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government entities or other entities that handle data that’s subject to government regulations and requirements, where the use of Microsoft 365 Government - GCC is appropriate to meet these requirements.

Note

If your organization has already met the Microsoft 365 Government - GCC eligibility requirements and applied for and been accepted into the program, you can skip steps 1 and 2 and go directly to step 3.

Step 1. Determine whether your organization needs Microsoft 365 Government - GCC and meets eligibility requirements.

The Microsoft 365 Government - GCC environment provides compliance with US government requirements for cloud services, including FedRAMP Moderate, and requirements for criminal justice and federal tax information systems (CJI and FTI data types).

In addition to enjoying the features and capabilities of Office 365, organizations benefit from the following features that are unique to Microsoft 365 Government - GCC:

  • Your organization’s customer content is logically segregated from customer content in the commercial Office 365 services from Microsoft.
  • Your organization’s customer content is stored within the United States.
  • Access to your organization’s customer content is restricted to screened Microsoft personnel.
  • Microsoft 365 Government - GCC complies with certifications and accreditations that are required for US Public Sector customers.

You can find more information about the Microsoft 365 Government - GCC offering for US Government customers at Office 365 Government plans, including eligibility requirements.

The Office 365 US Government service description describes the platform’s benefits, which are centered around meeting compliance requirements within the United States.

Tip

You might want to transfer the tables of information in the service description into an Excel workbook and add two columns: Relevant for my organization Y/N and Meets the needs of my organization Y/N. Then you can review this list with your colleagues to confirm that this service meets your organization’s needs.

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Decision points
  • Decide whether Microsoft 365 Government - GCC is appropriate for your organization.
  • Confirm that your organization meets eligibility requirements.

Note

Microsoft 365 Government - GCC is only available in the United States. Non–US Government customers can choose from a number of Office 365 Government plans.

Step 2. Apply for Microsoft 365 Government - GCC

Having decided that this service is right for your organization, start the process of applying for this service here.

Step 3. Understand Microsoft 365 Government - GCC default security settings.

We recommend that you take time to carefully review your admin and security settings before you modify them, and consider impacts on compliance before you make any changes to the default security settings.

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Decision point
  • Decide whether you’ll modify any of the default Microsoft 365 Government - GCC security settings, resolving to first understand the impact of any changes you might make.

Step 4. Understand which capabilities are currently unavailable or disabled by default.

To accommodate the requirements of our government cloud customers, there are some differences between Microsoft 365 Government - GCC and Enterprise plans. Refer to the following table to see which features are available.

Feature GCC
Base Login Available
Presence Available
Unified presence (Skype for Business and Teams unified) Available
Activity Feed Available
My Activity Available
Chat Conversation Available
Files Available
Org chart Available
Activity Available
InterOp (1:1 Teams-Skype for Business chat) Available
Teams Channel message Available
Channel files Available
OneNote tab On the Government backlog
Email a channel Not available
Add member Available
Guest access Available
Meetings Schedule meeting Available
Join meeting Available
VoIP meeting Available
Desktop sharing Available
Give and take control in sharing Available
Connect from a conference room Available
Anonymous join Available
Cloud recording On the Government backlog
Meeting notes Available
Broadcast meetings On the Government backlog
Federated meetings Available
Surface Hub support (preview) On the Government backlog
Calls Contacts Available
History Available
Voicemail Available
VoIP call Available
Skype for Business - Teams calling Available
Calling Plans Available
Audio conferencing (by allowing meeting participants to join via PSTN) Available
Microsoft Phone System direct routing Available
Lobby for PSTN callers Available
Call queue Available
Boss and delegate support Available
Consultative and safe transfer Available
Do not disturb breakthrough Available
Distinctive ring Available
1:1 to group call escalation with Teams, Skype for Business, and PSTN participants Available
Forward to group Available
Transfer to PSTN call Available
Emergency calling - Calling Plans Available
Support for existing certified SIP phones Available
USB HID Available
eDiscovery for both calls and meetings Available
Organization auto attendant Available
Skype consumer - Teams call support Available
Files Recent Available
Microsoft Teams Available
Store App Store On the Government backlog
Search Messages Available
People Available
Files Available
Slash commands Available
Compliance Compliance content search Available
Retention Available
Audit log search Available
Legal hold Available
eDiscovery Available

Note

Once other workloads are fully available in the GCC cloud, then they will become available in Teams when all additional integration work is completed.

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Decision point
  • Decide whether the Teams feature set meets your organization’s needs.

Step 5. Plan for governance

Determine your requirements for governance and how you can meet them. Go to Plan for governance in Teams for more information.

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Decision point

Step 6. Deploy Teams for collaboration

After you’ve been onboarded to Microsoft 365 Government - GCC, you can follow the standard deployment approach of using FastTrack and your chosen partner to onboard to the service.

When you’re ready, deploy Teams to enable collaboration within your organization through teams and channels. Be sure to engage with your Adoption and Change Management team or Teams champions.

Step 7. Deploy Teams for meetings and voice

This is also a great time to use Teams with your wider stakeholder group to start planning for rolling out meetings and cloud voice features.