Boston Has Officially Moved Into the Google Cloud
The city's IT department successfully switched 76,000 city employees, police officers, teachers, and students to the Google Apps platform.
As Boston welcomed incoming Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday, it also ushered in another big change: The city has officially moved everyone into the Cloud.
Bill Oates, Bostonâ€™s Chief Information Officer, announced that the city successfully shifted from its old Microsoft Exchange system to Google Cloud, giving more than 76,000 people in the city their own Google Apps accounts and email addresses.
â€śAs a tech-savvy city, weâ€™re always looking for the best IT tools to help our government run smarter, innovate more effectively, and provide better services for our citizens,â€ť said Oates, in a post on Googleâ€™s news blog. â€śOur new unified, cloud-based communication system is [a] pretty big change from our old set-up. Our agencies worked together to manage their mail environments, with resources focused on mail administration and working across the group structures. Our largest department, the public school district, operated on a very separate environment that was in need of a major technical upgrade.â€ť
Boston employees will now work with Google Docs and be able to store information online easier, while backing it up in Googleâ€™s Cloud services.Â These tools will be hosted and managed in the Cloud, with technical support, maintenance, and security provided with the assistance of the vendor, according to a prior press release from city officials.
The shift from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps provides city employees, police officers, teachersâ€”and even 50,000 studentsâ€”their very own Google email address, accessible from any device, at any time. â€śAll in all, weâ€™ve securely moved more than 20 million email messages to the cloud. Every city employeeâ€”from police, to education, public works, transportation and beyondâ€”has a Google account and a boston.gov email address accessible from any device, anywhere. We are confident Googleâ€™s secure, FISMA-compliant cloud environment ensures that city data is safe and private,â€ť said Oates.
The switch was first announced in May, and cost the city around $800,000. Oates said Boston will save money by taking on the contract with Google, as opposed to the outdated Microsoft system.Â â€śWe clearly saw cloud services as the most cost effective, supportable platform to address our future needs,â€ť Oates said.
The decision to switch to Google Apps from Microsoft Exchange came after an â€śextensive reviewâ€ť of the market, and Request For Proposals. Oates said a selection committee evaluated 10 proposals based on cost and technical capabilities, and unanimously chose Google Apps â€śbased on its ability to meet the needs of a fast-moving city while providing a secure cloud environment.â€ť
â€śAfter 20 years in office, Mayor Thomas Menino is departingâ€”making way for incoming Mayor Marty Walshâ€”and weâ€™re proud to hand the new administration the countryâ€™s most advanced, fully-functioning, cloud-based communications system to keep our city at the forefront of technology innovation,â€ť Oates wrote.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2014/01/06/boston-officially-google-cloud/