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Microsoft's online business productivity suite Office 365 has been awarded the Impact Level 2 (IL2) accreditation by the Cabinet Office.
The certification allows the Google Apps rival to be used across public sector institutions, including local and regional government, NHS trusts and in some central government departments.
Microsoft claims Office 365’s IL2 certification is a key milestone in supporting the UK Government’s aim of reducing the cost of IT and moving 50 per cent of new IT services to the cloud by 2015.
Office 365 delivers Microsoft’s standard office tools, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook via the cloud, and integrates them with Exchange Email, SharePoint and Lync services.
Nicola Hodson, general manager of public sector at Microsoft UK, said: “This is a big endorsement of secure public cloud services and the role of Microsoft Office 365 in enabling flexible working and mobility.
“Accredited public cloud services at this level are still rare among large IT suppliers and it’s crucial that people understand that commodity public cloud services can be as secure as those that keep data behind the firewall and is entirely suitable for public sector data.”