Google Apps government reach grows

Some federal agencies, Los Angeles make the move to the cloud

Google is making inroads into federal and state government markets with its cloud-based suite of software applications, Google Apps. The company’s software allows organizations to operate services such as e-mail and office productivity tools without relying on legacy hardware and software.

The interest in Google Apps has increased since it earned a Federal Information Securitiy Management Act (FISMA) certification in July. Google’s enterprise team told The Hill that more federal agencies have shown interest in deploying the company’s cloud-based applications since the FISMA certification.

Dan Israel, Google’s product marketing manager, said federal agencies of all sizes have shown interest in deploying Google Apps. The company is still negotiating with larger agencies, but The Hill reported that smaller agencies such as the U.S. Navy’s humanitarian branch and the University of California’s Berkeley Laboratory have adopted Google Apps.

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Google launches FISMA-compliant Apps for Government

Are Web apps ready for the enterprise?

The government version of Google Apps differs from the consumer version in that it is run on a separate, Google-owned private cloud fortified with additional physical and network security. The company will also maintain its FISMA certification for the life of all its contracts to ensure that agencies remain in compliance without additional expense, he said. A separate unit of Google, known as the “Data Liberation Front” is working to ensure that individuals and organizations that stop using the company’s services can still freely access their data and migrate it to another software application.

At the state and local level, the City of Los Angeles has migrated more than 15,000 employees to Google Apps. The move is part of a larger effort to replace the city’s e-mail and applications with the cloud-based collaboration suite.

According to InformationWeek, 36 of LA's 40 city departments have adopted Google Apps. Once the project is complete, more than 30,000 employees will use the suite for e-mail, calendaring, documents, spreadsheets, instant messaging and video. The city will also use Google Sites, a Web-site creation and sharing service.

Los Angeles Chief technology Officer Randi Levin described the decision to switch to Google Apps as a way to improve collaboration and remote access to applications. The suite will also expand e-mail storage at a lower cost. Levin said he expects the city to save millions of dollars by shifting IT resources currently devoted to e-mail. She told InformationWeek that Google Apps will free up nearly 100 servers dedicated to e-mail, lowering the city’s electricity bills by nearly $750,000 over five years.

Reader Comments

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 Baz

100 servers for 30,000 email accounts?!? That is absolutely crazy. And how do 100 servers use $150,000 worth of electricity per year? That means each server is using $125 worth of electricity per month. WTF - are they using Crays for email? I would love to do an audit on LA's entire IT infrastructure, it sounds horribly inefficient.

Sun, Sep 26, 2010

Who do you think is managing these servers? Foreigners Let's send our sensitive data to other countries!!! Great idea. Guess it will take a serous security breach to secure cloud IT.

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 Jeff

Regarding the last comment. You apparently haven't actually used Microsoft Office Web Apps. It displays .doc documents flawlessly but try to edit them using the Web Apps editor, and it doesn't even rise to the level of "clunky." Pitiful is the word. Go ahead, try editing a document using the editor. You'll agree that it's pitiful too.

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 Hickory The Belt

Although G-Docs made FISMA quals, I've yet to hear that its been approved to contain CUI / FOUO / SBU and/or other unclassified, sensitive data. For example, has any DoD organization approved it for its FOUO files like orders, EPRs, reports, etc.? Until then, we're all just waiting to take advantage of this great cloud service.

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 Dave K

Would LOVE to go this route... why run a server farm for e-mail? Why buy a cow? Best part would be the elimination of the 90Mb e-mail storage limit we currently have!

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