The US General Services Administration announced that it was moving to Google Apps and The Cloud for email, etc. It becomes the first federal agency to do so. The GSA said it will save more than $15 million over five years. The contract is worth just under $7 million and being implemented by Google partner Unisys Corp.
The government said the following in its press release about the rationale:
The contract provides for an easily accessible suite of services, including e-mail and collaboration tools, to facilitate a more mobile work force. While agencies have moved sub-entities’ e-mails to the cloud, GSA is the first to utilize a cloud-based system for e-mail agencywide. The migration will result in a 50 percent savings over the next five years when compared to current staff, infrastructure, and contract support costs. GSA’s move to cloud-based e-mail and collaboration tools is part of a government-wide effort to utilize more agile, lightweight technology such as cloud computing and to shared services to limit the need for expensive, redundant infrastructure.
Google said that earlier this year its Apps platform “became the first suite of cloud computing email and collaboration applications to receive Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification, enabling agencies to compare the security features of Google Apps to that of existing systems.”
Not all government agencies are equally forward thinking and sometimes they need a little nudge. Google is providing that to the Department of the Interior in the form of a lawsuit for not considering Google Apps and only considering Microsoft software in a recent agency procurement round for its 88,000 employees.
One might wonder about security of government data in The Cloud. But human error probably remains a greater threat than the security of the involved systems. In November a GSA employee “accidentally” sent the names and Social Security numbers of all 12,000 of the agency’s employees to a third party email address, exposing them to potential identity theft.
Thanks to Gary Price for alerting us to this item.