There’s dangerous, not-safe, safe, super-safe, and then we have ridiculously-safe. Many businesses, due to the nature of their work or relationships with government or military agencies have had to move to one of Microsoft’s more secure “Sovereign” clouds (GCC, GCC High, or DoD). The downside is that your field of technology options has narrowed dramatically. The best source of what is “not available” in the Sovereign clouds is this list which is updated every 4-6 weeks. Thankfully, RapidStart CRM is now an option for most of you!
Why RapidStart CRM?
The primary reason for considering RapidStart CRM in your GCC or GCC High Sovereign environments is the same as it is for any business… lower costs, saving about $65/per user per month! We developed a special version of RapidStart CRM that bobs and weaves within the limitations of Sovereign clouds, yet still provides “almost” everything that our public version does.
Sovereign Clouds Suck
Nobody that has a choice would select Sovereign Clouds. It is a technology “walled garden”, in an age where we all seek technology freedom. The only reason anybody is there is that they have to be. Does that mean the “normal” clouds are not secure? I can’t speak for every cloud, but Microsoft’s public cloud is plenty safe. In fact, their public cloud is probably safer than many on-premises environments in military use. But try and convince the IT director of the US Navy! Nope, another level was called for to break through that wall. So, we got the GCC Sovereign Cloud for government use. Indeed, many Government organizations and private companies that deal with them made the move to GCC. But not all. Some still felt that their information was more important than the local school board. So, another level was called for to break through that wall, and we got GCC High. This seemed to satisfy all but Government Defense organizations. So, yet another cloud was created just for DoD (Department of Defense).
The Walls Close In
The path of Public to GCC to GCC High to DoD resembles a Matryoshka (Russian nesting doll), with the walls of each level closing tighter and tighter. You might assume that these are all large organizations, but many are smaller contractors and suppliers who provide goods or services to the Government. Many of these are required by their customers to also be in Sovereign clouds.
What’s the Problem?
Large organizations have large budgets and hire large partners, or Microsoft directly, to deploy and manage these Sovereign clouds. But smaller organizations do not have large budgets. To compound their issue, most smaller partners and ISV solutions won’t work in these Sovereign environments since there is plenty of public cloud work. Most partners avoid Sovereign cloud projects feeling they will be too “handcuffed” to succeed. But somebody has to help.
My first reaction when a Sovereign cloud customer approached me about a year ago was similar. “Sorry, RapidStart CRM won’t work in Sovereign cloud”. “Why not?” persisted the customer. I said, “I don’t know exactly why not, and I’m too busy to figure it out. Plus if you needed our help, we wouldn’t be able to help you”. “Why couldn’t you help us?” persisted the customer. I said, “I don’t know exactly why we couldn’t, and I’m too busy to figure that out also.” “Well”, said the customer, “there’s a bunch of us here, so maybe you should take the time to figure it out!”
So, we did.
I set out to do a little research on these “Sovereign” clouds. It seems like the only one that appears to be “too” locked down for our App may be DoD. I don’t see the US Marines using our RapidStart CRM mobile app on maneuvers, so I focused on GCC and GCC High. Yes, the walls are tight, much more so in GCC High. But with a few modifications to our RapidStart CRM app it was able to work. It can’t be installed from AppSource of course. One of the key components of GCC High is being blocked from the outside by default. So, anything that connects to something external is a no-go without Tenant Admin approval, which you won’t likely get. Also, we had to put a low price on it for these customers as “free” raises too many eyebrows.
So, far as providing services, well, that’s going to vary significantly from organization to organization, having more to do with their internal policies than any Sovereign cloud limitations. If accepted by policy, providing services will require some hoop-jumping also, which will increase costs. But still, nothing like the large partners who focus on Sovereign cloud work.
So, I learned a few things, the biggest one was not to make assumptions without the facts.
If you are in GCC or GCC High, unfortunately, can’t Test Drive RapidStart CRM, but if you contact us, we can set up a demo.
If you are in DoD cloud, we can’t help you, and we still don’t know why :).