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Google Nabs Federal Cloud Deal

The General Services Administration yesterday said it will move to Google Apps, a huge win for the company because it's the first federal agency to use Google Apps. The GSA's five-year, $6.7 million deal will save the GSA 50 percent in IT costs over the span of the contract, the agency said.

The GSA will move 17,000 employees and contractors in 17 locations to Google Apps including Gmail during the coming year. Apparently helping Google and its lead contractor Unisys bag this deal was the fact that Google Apps is FISMA certified.

"Earlier this year, Google Apps became the first suite of cloud computing e-mail 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," wrote Mike Bradshaw, director of Google's federal enterprise team, in a blog post announcing the deal.

It just so happened that Microsoft today announced that its cloud infrastructure has received FISMA approval. "Meeting the requirements of FISMA is an important security requirement for U.S. Federal agencies," wrote Mark Estberg, senior director of risk and compliance of Microsoft's Global Foundation Services unit, in a blog post.

Nevertheless Google's win comes after Microsoft charted some big wins, most recently the City of New York and the state contracts in California and Minnesota.

Microsoft officials have been aggressively questioning Google's ability to compete in the enterprise. Case in point was a recent blog post after winning the State of California deal. "Google can't meet the needs of the state," was the subhead in a TechNet blog posting announcing the California win.

I chatted with Tom Rizzo, Microsoft's senior director of online services yesterday and he ripped into Google's enterprise aspirations. "They're trying to shoehorn consumer products into the enterprise space," he said. "That's like us trying to take things like [Microsoft's] Hotmail and Skydrive and say "it is enterprise ready."

Google sees it differently. "Modern e-mail and collaboration tools will help make [GSA] employees more efficient and effective," Bradshaw noted. "Google Apps will bring GSA a continual stream of new and innovative features, helping the agency keep pace with advances in technology in the years ahead."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/02/2010 at 1:14 PM


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