SaaS: Google Apps For Government Launches

The biggest roadblock to the adoption of cloud computing in government agencies has frequently involved privacy and security concerns. Well, Google is aiming to turn that all around with Google Apps for Government, a version of their popular SaaS productivity suite with measures in place to assure Google meets the compliance needs of the public sector. Here’s the scoop.

Google Apps for Government, which they say in their blog entry was developed with guidance from customers like the City of Los Angeles and the City of Orlando, is ostensibly the first cloud computing application suite to achieve certification from the US Government under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). (The Microsoft BPOS team, by the way, is pursuing similar government certification.)

The FISMA certification isn’t the only new compliance feature new to Google Apps for Government: the specialized suite will store Gmail and Google Calendar data in a segregated, government-only system in the continental United States, with more applications following suit in the near future.

Generally speaking, I believe Google has already done a good job of making sure the rest of their infrastructure is enterprise-ready, with a strong disaster-readiness component. By helping ensure compliance with federal guidelines, Google is opening the door for their partner base to strong businesses cases to local, state, and federal agencies.

And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Google announced this enhanced government offering this soon after Los Angeles missed its Google Apps migration deadline due to security concerns.

In the months ahead, it's pretty clear the SaaS and Cloud showdown between Google and Microsoft will increasingly involve government agencies.

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