Google introduced Google Apps for Government, accommodated by FISMA certification. FISMA is essentially the government's seal of approval of Google Apps as a secure cloud computing collaboration platform, something Microsoft lacks for its own cloud suites.
Google July 26 launched Google Apps for Government and earned a key security
credit that makes its collaboration software for the cloud viable for federal
Google Apps for Government includes all of the applications in the company's
Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) suite, including Gmail, Google Docs and
Postini security services.
The suite, which Google hosts in its servers and provisions over the Web,
will run government agencies $50 per user per month, or the same as GAPE.
However, unlike the standard, education and premier editions of Google Apps,
Google Apps for Government has been awarded Federal Information Security
Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation from the U.S.
government's General Services Administration.
FISMA calls for all information systems used by U.S.
federal government agencies to have the utmost security. The GSA sports 15,000
e-mail accounts and oversees government procurement in the United
Its blessing of Google Apps for Government make it easier for federal
agencies to compare
Google's security features to those of their existing systems.
For example, GSA currently uses IBM's
Lotus Notes. That contract is up for renewal by the end of the fiscal year, and
the GSA is in position to weigh the security of Google Apps versus Lotus Notes.
The FISMA certification is also something Microsoft is trying to win for its
rival cloud computing offering, Business Productivity Online Suite. Microsoft
is waging a war against Google in the cloud for collaboration software
To satisfy FISMA protocol, Google pledges to provide added federal security
and peace of mind by storing Gmail and Calendar data separate from data
generated by consumers of the standard and premier editions of Google Apps.
This means Google Apps for Government will run in the cloud on servers
located in a dedicated data center facility somewhere in the continental United
States, "exclusively for our government
customers," said the suite's Technical Program Manager Kripa Krishnan
in a blog post.
Other Google applications, such as Google Sites, Google Video and Google
Talk, will soon follow.
While Google Apps for Government has been accorded FISMA for federal
credibility, Google expects this will have a trickle-down effect into the state
and local municipalities, said Matt Glotzbach, product management director for
Google Apps, during a media event July 26.
The suite forms the centerpiece for the "government
Google discussed building last September.