Google announced a new edition of Google Apps recently. Designed with guidance from customers like the federal government, the City of Los Angeles and the City of Orlando, Google Apps for Government includes the same great Google applications that people know and love, with specific measures to address the policy and security needs of the public sector.
Google Apps is the first suite of cloud computing applications to receive Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation from the U.S. government. The FISMA law applies to all information systems in use by U.S. federal government agencies to help ensure they’re secure. The federal government’s General Services Administration has reviewed the documentation of the security controls and issued an authorization to operate, the official confirmation of our FISMA certification and accreditation. This review makes it easier for federal agencies to compare the security features to those of their existing systems; most agencies we have worked with have found that Google Apps provides at least equivalent, if not better, security than they have today. This means government customers can move to the cloud with confidence.
Take Berkeley Lab, a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s managed by the University of California and conducts unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Berkeley researchers collaborate with scientists around the world, so emailing version upon version of documents among collaborators and trying to juggle disparate files is difficult. Berkeley Lab researchers have been using Google Apps to share documents that live in the cloud, and can view and edit documents and spreadsheets simultaneously knowing they are always working from the latest information. (Read more from Berkeley Lab’s Chief Information Officer on the Enterprise blog.)
And we’re not stopping with FISMA certification. Google Apps for Government will continue to evolve to meet unique government requirements. Google Apps for Government stores Gmail and Calendar data in a segregated system located in the continental United States, exclusively for our government customers. Other applications will follow in the near future. The suite is a “community cloud”—as defined by the National Institute for Science and Technology—to support the needs of our government customers. Google Apps for Government is available now to any federal, state or local government in the United States.
With reviews of our security controls in place, government agencies can more easily take advantage of all the benefits of one of the world’s best cloud computing systems. Google’s cloud offers higher reliability, best-in-class disaster recovery and access to a steady stream of innovation—all of which can provide substantial improvements over existing systems in addition to significant cost savings. And with no hardware or software to install and maintain, Google Apps for Government allows agencies to redeploy resources to technology projects core to their mission of serving the public. This new edition should give governments an even stronger case for making the move to the cloud.