Google announces Apps for Government in light of LA rollout delays

Following news over the weekend that it had missed the deadline to provide the city government of Los Angeles with its own email and collaboration infrastructure, Google today announced "Google Apps for Government".

Google Apps for Government provides more secure versions of the popular consumer-facing Web services that Google offers, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Sites, and even YouTube. All of the apps are compliant with the 2002 Federeal Information Security Management Act (FIMSA, PDF here,) and operate at the "moderate" level. FIMSA was laid down by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to ensure federal agencies and their contractors were using secure and reliable software and systems.

"Google Apps for Government will continue to evolve to meet unique government requirements," Kripa Krishnan, Technical Program Manager, Google Apps for Government said in the official Google Blog today. "Google Apps for Government stores Gmail and Calendar data in a segregated system located in the continental United States, exclusively for our government customers. Other applications will follow in the near future. The suite is a "community cloud" as defined by the National Institute for Science and Technology to support the needs of our government customers. Google Apps for Government is available now to any federal, state or local government in the United States."

The news hanging over Google during the weekend was that the deadline to have the L.A. city government fully migrated over to Google Apps was June 30, and the city on Wednesday demanded reimbursement. In October 2009, the Los Angeles City Council approved a five-year agreement with Google to use the company's cloud offerings for its staff of more than 30,000 employees.

"Delaying the implementation of the Google system...will result in additional costs associated with
maintaining the City's current e-mail system for 20,000 City e-mail accounts for the entire year
from $135,000 to $414,450 in 2010-11. The costs depend on the length of the delay. No funds
are budgeted for this purpose," a report from the City's Information Technology and Government Affairs Committee, and Communication from Budget and Finance Committee said on Wednesday (PDF here.)

Los Angeles is one of the largest city governments migrating to Google's cloud apps thus far. In 2009, Orlando Florida signed up to migrate 3,000 employees from Lotus Notes/Domino to Google Apps; and Canton, Georgia moved its modest staff of 165 employees to Google's services. The move to Google Apps is expected to cost Los Angeles $7.25 million, but will save $5 million in hard costs and some $20 million in improved productivity.

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