Google Closes Another Major Public-Sector Cloud Deal
- By Rutrell Yasin
Just over a month after the state of Wyoming wrapped up its wholesale move to Google's cloud, the company has finalized the migration of another public-sector client: the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).
In a blog post on Tuesday, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson wrote, "It's official! The U.S. General Services Administration is the first federal agency to successfully migrate its employees to a cloud-based e-mail service using Google Apps for Government," a secure cloud-based e-mail and collaboration platform.
The move is the first step in the GSA's effort to provide cloud e-mail as a service option to other federal agencies, she noted.
"Moving government agencies to the cloud is part of the Obama administration's 'cloud first' strategy and GSA's success broadly demonstrates that agile, secure, reliable, and cost-effective cloud options exist," Johnson said. "Already, 15 agencies have identified 950,000 e-mail boxes across 100 email systems that are going to move to the cloud."
The GSA awarded Unisys a contract to migrate its e-mail to the cloud in December 2010 via its Alliant contract. During the six-month transition, more than 17,000 GSA and contractor e-mail addresses, content and calendar data were migrated to Google Apps for Government. Enhanced user authentication and other security improvements were also added during the transition phase.
All the agency's mobile devices also were transitioned, while certified Unisys consultants trained GSA employees on best practices for leveraging the Google Apps for Government platform. GSA and Unisys teams worked collaboratively to manage the transition with end user communication and participation, Unisys officials said.
The GSA expects its new solution to increase employee productivity, enabling employees to work remotely from any location at any time. It will also benefit from new collaboration capabilities, such as direct access to on-site and remote colleagues through video chat and shared documents, Unisys officials said.
"We expect that using a cloud-based system will reduce e-mail operation costs by 50 percent over the next five years and save more than $15.2 million for the agency in that time," Johnson said.
Based on the success of its work with the GSA and other agencies, Unisys announced the availability of its Collaborative Office Solutions: Google Apps for Government service. Working with Google and Tempus Nova, Unisys will provide a set of services to help agencies accomplish their enterprise transitions to Google Apps for Government.
Rutrell Yasin is the senior technology editor of Government Computer News (GCN.com).