The US Government is going Cloud with Google

Apps.gov is a new website that will help government agencies move their IT applications to the Cloud.  Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra unveiled the initiative today at a a press event at NASA's Ames Research Center. 

The site uses technologies from Google and other big Cloud vendors, but the Government isn't going to just upload all of their data to Google.  Kundra said the government would follow a two-prong approach. Classified data and processes will be managed through a government owned and operated platform developed by NASA called Nebula.

Less sensitive information could be offloaded to the Cloud, however, with the help of companies like Google.

Google specifically will be offering up a version of its Google Apps enterprise platform that is already at home in millions of businesses and universities. 

Because government agencies have unique regulatory and compliance requirements for IT systems, Google is currently getting its platform certified for use in accordance with the Federal Information Security Management Act:

FISMA certification for Google Apps. In July, we announced our intent to secure certification for Google Apps to demonstrate compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), the law defining security requirements that must be met by all US Federal government information systems. Our FISMA process is nearing completion. We will submit a Certification and Accreditation (C&A) package to the U.S. Government before the end of this year. Upon review and approval of the Google Apps C&A package, agencies will be able to deploy Google Apps knowing that it is authorized to operate under FISMA.

Google is creating a special "Government Cloud" that will be located on Google's present facilities, yet have more security features such as those required by FISMA.  Google expects this separate cloud space to be open in 2010.

This could be a huge win for Google, who would be replacing legacy Microsoft and IBM products throughout the government. It will also be a big win for contractors like Onix Networking who look to be doing the migrations to Google Apps.

The government accreditation will also lend more respectability to Google's Apps platform.  Google Apps IT admins will now be able to say that they use the same backoffice technology as NASA.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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