Department of Defense employees now able to use Microsoft Lync 2013 to connect to information network

The following is a post from Victor Akinnagbe, Chief Architect of Department of Defense Sales, Microsoft Federal and Walter Nichols, Unified Communications Architect, Microsoft Federal

clip_image002Earlier this month, Lync 2013 added a new accreditation to the fold by achieving JITC certification for Voice, Video, and Instant Message & Presence (IM&P) at the Joint Interoperability Testing Center in Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this certification, that’s a fancy way of saying it enables Department of Defense (DoD) organizations to connect software, like Microsoft Lync 2013, to the DoD’s information network. Becoming JITC certified is one of the primary ways of validating software’s ability to work and interoperate on the DoD’s Defense Information Switched Network (DISN).

We are particularly proud about Lync 2013 receiving this certification for a couple of reasons.

First, earlier this year Microsoft and the DoD announced a three-year Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreement to expand access of Microsoft technology solutions to the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Through this agreement, we’ve been learning more about the unique unified communications requirements of the DoD, including the specific authentication features and connectivity scenarios they need to operate. In response to these needs, we’ve made several investments to help make Lync more secure and relevant for this select group and this certification bolsters the adjustments we’ve made.

Second, the type of certification we received for Lync 2013 falls under a new category created for products that have multifunctional capabilities. Achieving this level of certification classifies Lync 2013 as an advanced and secure unified communications platform.

Lastly, earning JITC certification isn’t an easy feat; in fact, it often requires leaning on a network of partners to surpass the challenging testing environment involved in becoming certified. Thankfully, Microsoft was able to work with Dell Services, who provided us with onsite resources, hardware, and Lync experts from the company’s unified communications practice. Dell also came directly into the JITC lab to help drive Microsoft’s success. Meanwhile, Acme Packet and Microsoft partnered to use the JTIC-certified Session Border Controller, a bridging device that allowed Lync to send encrypted traffic across the certified JITC phone switch network. This support from Dell and Acme Packet helped us overcome the hurdles associated with becoming certified and this achievement would not have been possible without strong partnerships from vendors with direct experience in the JITC labs.

As we look to the future, Microsoft will expand on Lync 2013’s JITC certification to continue investing in the evolution of the platform and its capabilities. We’ll also continue to better support the DoD’s mission of using technology to be more efficient, effective, and secure.

To learn more about this certification and Lync 2013’s capabilities, check out this one-pager or read the Lync Team blog.