Google: Local governments set cloud trends for 2010

January 18, 2010

As promised, we continue our conversation this week with Google, which has started to deliver cloud services to federal agencies.

David Mihalchik, Business Development Executive for Google Federal, tells Fed Cloud Blog more about how his company plans to do business with the federal government in 2010.

FCB: In terms of deal with the government . . . can you give us a bit of an idea of what that process is like when you started looking and said — hey maybe we can provide cloud for the federal government. What was that process like?

DM: Really, it was about talking with our customers and understanding their requirements and understanding their desire to use cloud computing services — and the need and the benefit to government customers.

So many government customers today are trying to solve this problem — how can I reduce my IT spending while, at the same time, improve performance and keep pace with innovation?

That’s something that’s hard to do, but cloud computing does offer an answer.

Not every cloud computing solution or application may offer the right solution for government, but there are cloud computing solutions that meet government security requirements and that are mature enough today to be used in full production by government agencies.

I think that email and collaboration are very good examples of those.

FCB: Just a question about apps.gov . . . Does Google have any apps up yet? Maybe you can give us a timeline?

DM: Our product is actually available on apps.gov. Government agencies have purchased Google apps from apps.gov.

FCB: Do you foresee cloud becoming even more of a solution for the federal government? Are you doing work with state and local governments, as well? What do you see as the future of cloud in 2010?

DM: I think as agencies understand the benefits of cloud computing and as they understand the particulars of the security environment and of the other capabilities that are offered by cloud computing, that we will see much greater adoption of cloud computing in 2010 across the government.

We’ve seen this in state and local governments.

The District of Columbia uses Google apps. The city of Los Angeles, just at the end of last year, made a decision to migrate all of the city’s users to Google apps.

The city of Orlando now is using Google apps, as well, so I think this is the start of a trend that we’ll see take off even more in 2010


Google’s cloud offerings for the federal government in 2010 — and beyond

January 14, 2010

Google is moving into the federal space and partnering with the U.S. government to deliver services in the cloud for agencies.

David Mihalchik, Business Development Executive for Google Federal, talked with FCB about what Google will offer in 2010 — and beyond.

Fed Cloud Blog: We just wanted to start off with a really simple question — if you could explain your partnership with the federal government in terms of cloud.

David Mihalchik: Today, government is spending too much on information technology and needs to get more out of each dollar that it’s spending on technology.

So, in the case of email in the federal government, agencies are spending millions to maintain systems that have 100 times less inbox storage than a standard consumer email account that are offered for free online.

They’re also struggling to keep pace with innovation, particularly around information sharing and collaboration.

Cloud computing is an area that makes perfect sense for government to address some of these challenges that they’re facing — to dramatically reduce costs for IT, while at the same time increasing performance and being able to keep pace with technology.

The real outstanding question has been, can cloud computing meet government security requirements?

Google’s answer is that we can meet or exceed the government’s requirements as they’re spelled out in FISMA law, and this is something that we know is critical for government.

FCB: We know you probably can’t talk about specifics, but when it comes to complying with FIMSA, can you give us some general ideas of what that means?

DM: This is a law that’s spelled out by Congress and has individual requirements which are spelled out by NIST.

It’s a set of security requirements that every single federal government agency must meet for their systems.

Google reviewed these controls and requirements and really found that, for the most part, we meet the security requirements of the government, and in many cases, exceed the security requirements of the government.

We had to prepare some documentation to demonstrate our compliance and we’ve done that.

FCB: I understand that Google offers cloud services for the general public. How are [the federal services] different? Is there anything different, other than the security, that Google is doing for the federal government versus what someone — like us — can get?

DM: As a consumer user, you’re familiar with gmail for email, calendar, our instant messaging product — Google Talk — docs, Google Sites, Google Video — that’s all bundled together in what we call Google Apps.

That’s a product that we offer to consumers, but we also offer to the enterprise and to our customers in the federal government.

What’s different is that there is much more storage available — 25 gigabytes storage per inbox.

There is support that’s available to our customers, and also the ability to tie this account to a set domain, such as gsa.gov or fcc.gov, so that it’s an experience where it’s all blended in to a domain and you have access to all of those capabilities.

Tomorrow — a weekly cloud news roundup. Monday — more with David Mihalchik of Google Federal.

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