US agency chooses Google for hosted e-mail

The GSA said it will be the first federal agency to use hosted e-mail across the entire agency

The U.S. General Services Administration will become the first federal agency to use a hosted e-mail service, choosing Google, Unisys and others to offer the service.

The choice is a blow to Microsoft, which has tried to position itself as offering the most secure services for the government.

The five-year contract is worth US$6.7 million and was awarded to Unisys, which is partnering with Google, Tempus Nova and Acumen Solutions. They will offer a suite of services including e-mail and collaboration tools "to facilitate a more mobile work force," the GSA said in a statement.

It said it is the first federal agency to use a cloud-based system for e-mail across the entire agency. It expects a 50 percent cost savings over the next five years compared to costs associated with its current system.

Microsoft said it was disappointed in the decision. "Our BPOS-Federal proposal was a conscious decision to provide GSA with U.S.-only datacenter support, where data is maintained in the U.S., administered by U.S. citizens with background checks, in accordance with ITAR standards in a FISMA-certified environment," it said.

The Federal Information Security Management Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulation are two stringent security standards that some federal agencies are required to comply with.

Earlier this year Microsoft launched a version of its Business Productivity Online Suite that includes Exchange, SharePoint, Office Live Meeting and Office Communications hosted from special facilities to meet the needs of federal agencies. Physical access to the site is controlled with biometric systems and the only people with access to the facility are U.S. citizens, Microsoft said.

Google has also made efforts to appeal to government customers. In July, it introduced Google Apps for Government, including Gmail, Talk, Groups, Calendar, Docs, Sites, Video and Postini. Data is stored only in the U.S. and servers that support the offering are segregated from those used by nongovernmental customers. The service complies with FISMA.

Microsoft has recently won high-profile deals to offer cloud-based e-mail and other services to the city of New York and the states of California and Minnesota.

Google has had a number of wins in the public sector as well, including Google Apps deals with Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Florida. It also won a contract to serve the city of Los Angeles, an implementation that has been delayed.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cloud computingMicrosoftinternetGooglee-mailMailInternet-based applications and servicesGovernment use of IT

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?