Posts Tagged ‘ Apps.gov ’

Google Apps Receives Federal Certification for Cloud Computing

On July 26, Google released a version of its hosted suite of applications that meets the primary federal IT security certification, making a major leap forward in its push to drive cloud computing in the government. Nearly one year in the making, Google announces its new edition of Google Apps as the first portfolio of cloud applications to have received certification under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

The government version of Google Apps has the same pricing and services as the premier edition, including Gmail, the Docs productivity site and the Talk instant-messaging application.

Google Business Development Executive David Mihalchik said to reporters, “We see the FISMA certification in the federal government environment as really the green light for federal agencies to move forward with the adoption of cloud computing for Google Apps.”

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra announced a broad initiative to embrace the cloud across the federal government last September, as a way to reduce both costs and inefficiencies of redundant and underused IT deployments. The launch of that campaign was accompanied by the launch of Apps.gov. An online storefront for vendors to showcase their cloud-based services for federal IT manager, Apps.gov was revealed at an event at NASA’s Ames Research Center and attended by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. At the same time, Google announced plans to develop a version of its popular cloud-based services that  would meet the federal-government sector’s security requirements.

Mike Bradshaw, director of Google’s Federal Division, said, “We’re excited about this announcement and the benefits that cloud computing can bring to this market.” Bradshaw continued to say that “the President’s budget has identified the adoption of cloud computing in the federal government as a way to more efficiently use the billions of dollars spent on IT annually.” Bradshaw added that the government spends $45 million in electrical costs alone to run its data-centers and servers.

Security concerns are consistently cited by proponents of modernizing the deferral IT apparatus as the largest barrier to the adoption of cloud computing. Google is including extra security features to make federal IT buyers at agencies with more stringent security requirements feel more at ease. These extra security features are in addition to the 1,500 pages of documentation that came with Google’s FISMA certification.

Google will store government cloud accounts on dedicated servers within its data centers that will be segregated from its equipment that houses consumer and business data. Additionally, Google has committed to only use servers located in the continental U.S. for government cloud accounts. Google’s premier edition commercial customers have their data stored on servers in both the U.S. and European Union.

Mihalchik explained that security was the leading priority from the get-go in developing Google Apps for Government saying, “We set out to send a signal to government customers that the cloud is ready for government.” Adding, “today we’ve done that with the FISMA certification, and also going beyond FISMA to meet some of the other specific security requirements of government customers.”

Thus far, Google has won government customers at state and local levels such as in the cities of Los Angeles, California and Orlando, Florida. Mihalchik said that over one dozen federal agencies are in various stages of trialing or deploying elements of Google apps. Mihalchik states that several agencies are using Google anti-spam and anti-virus products to filter their email. Others, like the Department of Energy, are running pilot programs to evaluate the full suite of Google Apps in comparison with competitors’ offerings.

Find out more about cloud security and FISMA certification of Google Apps by talking to a Nubifer Consultant today.

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