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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