Google Apps Faces New Security Requirements in L.A.

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-10-22
 
 
 

Google's complete (NASDAQ:GOOG) implementation of its Google Apps cloud collaboration software for Los Angeles has been delayed due to additional security requirements from the city's police department.

When Google scored the Los Angeles contract to provide its Gmail and other applications for Los Angeles' 30,000 municipal employees in December 2009, it marked a watershed win.

Though worth only $7.25 million, it was a high-profile deal for a company working hard to expand its user base, not only in businesses but also in government, which is ripe for upgrades to on-premise collaboration systems from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) to the cloud.

At the time, L.A. CTO Randi Levin boasted that moving to Google would free up nearly 100 servers that were used for the city's existing Novell GroupWise implementation and lower electricity bills by almost $750,000 over five years. Google tapped CSC's help to migrate L.A.'s employees from GroupWise to Google Apps.

However, Google and CSC have not been able to satisfy security requirements for the Los Angeles Police Department pursuant to U.S. Justice Department Criminal Justice Information Systems policy requirements, Levin said in an August letter to CSC manager Michael Schneider.

That means only 17,000 of the city's 30,000-plus employees have been shuttled to Google Apps. Levin proposed amendments to the contract that would include having Google pay the remaining cost of the GroupWise implementation until Nov. 20, 2012. Los Angeles City Council member Dennis Zine Oct. 19 filed a motion requesting a status report on Google's contract with the city.

Corrected: The Consumer Watchdog advocacy group exhorted Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to disclose the extent to which Google has failed to comply with its contractual obligations with the city.

"Google's record with the city is nothing but broken promises and missed deadlines," wrote Consumer Watchdog's Jaime Court and John M. Simpson. "The Internet giant simply has not done what it said it would do and has tried to buy its way out of the mess it has made by covering the unbudgeted costs of the LAPD's GroupWise System that the department has been forced to continue using."

A Google spokesperson downplayed the delay and noted that the city has introduced requirements for more work to implement in a cloud-computing environment. Google plans to meet those needs at no additional cost.

"This is just the latest in a long list of press stunts from a group that admits to working closely with our competitors," the spokesperson told eWEEK, adding that the company is meeting its commitments to the city.

But Nucleaus Research analyst Rebecca Wettemann noted that whether L.A.'s claims are legitimate or not, this is not going to help Google's credibility with the enterprise. 

"[Oracle CEO] Larry Ellison raised the issue of cloud security at OpenWorld and brought it top of mind again for many people," Wettemann told eWEEK. "Expect other cloud vendors to face similar scrutiny moving forward."

Meanwhile, Google enjoys other government Apps contracts, including one with the General Services Administration for 17,000 workers, which it earned in December 2010.  Google also scored a coup versus Microsoft when it prevented the U.S. Department of Interior from picking Microsoft without looking at other vendors' software.

Consumer Watchdog is not funded by Microsoft as originally reported. 

 
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