The U.S. federal government is continuing to move some of its technology services to the cloud.
The move is providing government employees many of the same benefits as when businesses migrate to the cloud including improved efficiency, savings and service.
Two key players in the government sector are Office 365 provider Microsoft (News - Alert) and Google.
The National Archives and Records Administration, better known just as the National Archives, is the latest federal agency to opt for the cloud for e-mail and applications. In fact, it recently selected Unisys (News - Alert) to provide Google Apps for Government to about 4,500 of its employees. The total value of the contract could reach $7.2 million.
The National Archives expects that it will see an improved information technology infrastructure, as well as resources and applications, according to a Unisys statement. Employee collaboration will likely be ramped up in addition. Costs and downtime will go down too.
The move by the National Archives follows similar moves to Google by the General Services Administration, Idaho National Laboratory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The GSA (News - Alert) was the first federal agency to move its employees to cloud-based e-mail.
Google is competing with Microsoft in the government market, according to Information Week.
Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs selected Microsoft's Office 365 for Government for some 600,000 mailboxes with HP providing management services. HP Enterprise Services received a five-year contract for $36 million to provide the VA with a robust e-mail and calendaring infrastructure. In the case of the VA, the cloud will slash costs and it is expected to see more uptime. In addition, reliability, security, privacy and compliance will improve with the transition.
The VA may select other Office 365 services in the future or the agency could opt for Google (News - Alert) or Zoho, TMCnet reported.
“The fact that the VA is moving to the cloud just as much for scalability, elasticity, and reliability as it is for cost savings is going to set the tone for future large-scale public sector migrations,” according to a report from CiteWorld. “The VA may not be the recipient of the quickest Microsoft Office 365 deployment of all time, but it's certainly one of the largest, and success here is going to be a major validator for Microsoft's public cloud, especially in the government sector.”
Similarly, the Federal Aviation Administration recently selected Office 365 for 80,000 users. And it appears that Microsoft expects more deals to be on the way in the near future.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein