Feds On Board with Online Apps
Federal agencies' adoption of online applications from Internet powerhouse
Google Enterprise could usher in an era of rising productivity and improved
security, said David Girourard, the company's vice president and general manager.
"Ten of 15 Cabinet agencies' sites use Google search" technology, Girourard
said today in the opening keynote speech at the FOSE
2008 conference and exposition. He went on to cite the tens of thousands
of Google Earth users among the ranks of federal employees. Girourard noted
the 80,000 members of the intelligence community who contribute some 5,000 items
daily to Intellipedia, an online information pool that closely reflects methods
used in the Google-sponsored Wikipedia.
Federal agencies increasingly benefit from Google's collaborative tools,
Girourard said. He emphasized the role of such tools in shifting work methods
in both the federal and private sectors toward team productivity and away from
The spread of Google apps, and the cloud computing approach in which data resides
online and tools arrive as a service, promises to increase security for federal
users, Girourard said. As an example, he mentioned that he recently lost his
laptop PC -- but lost no data because the data remained secure and available
Federal agencies' travails with lost or stolen laptops have caused the loss
of countless files containing personal identifying information or classified
data, he said.
The Office of Management and Budget has issued regulations that impose multiple
levels of authentication for portable system access and mandate the elimination
of unused data, among other steps. But potential data leaks via both laptop
loss and online intrusions remain a top priority and continuously evolving threat
to federal agencies.
Those agencies' shift to Google's cloud computing approach will conserve federal
funds with the "almost zero incremental costs," he said.
The concept of cloud computing itself, or using networked computers to store
and manage data, isn't new. But recent advances in processor speed, software
productivity and Internet speed have made the technology more viable, Girourard
He said his company's plans to offer upgraded services to an ever-growing base
of users include using low-cost energy.
Google puts its data centers in areas that benefit from low electricity costs,
he said, and the company has placed photovoltaic technology on the roofs of
its headquarters. That solar electricity installation is the world's largest
such renewable energy site, he said.
Google plans to build a massive alternative energy generation facility, Girourad