Google Apps Tackles New Security Necessities in L.A.

Google’s complete execution of its Google Apps cloud partnership software for Los Angeles got postponed due to added security necessities from the city’s police department.

When Google got the Los Angeles contract in providing its Gmail and other applications for Los Angeles’ 30,000 municipal employees in December 2009, it marked a watershed win. However, it only worth¬† $7.25 million, it was a high-profile deal for a company working hard in expanding its user base, not only in businesses but also in government, ripening 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 bragged that moving to Google would loosen about 100 servers, which got used for the city’s existing Novell GroupWise implementation and lower electricity bills by around $750,000 in more than five years. Google tapped CSC’s help in migrating L.A.’s employees from GroupWise to Google Apps.

However, Google and CSC can not manage to satisfy security requirements for the Los Angeles Police Department pursuant to U.S. Justice Department Criminal Justice Information Systems policy prerequisites, as claimed by Levin in an August letter to CSC manager Michael Schneider.

That stands for 13,000 of the 17,000 city employees have not yet been transported to Google Apps. Levin suggested amendments to the contract, which would include having Google pay the residual cost of the GroupWise completion until Nov. 20, 2012. Los Angeles City Council member Dennis Zine Oct. 19 filed a motion asking for a status report on Google’s contract with the city.

Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group that got its fund from Microsoft, whose Office products Google Apps aims to replace, pushed Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in disclosing the extent to which Google has failed in complying with its contractual commitments with the city.

A Google spokesperson downplayed the postponement and noted that the city has presented requirements for more work in implementing in a cloud-computing environment. Google plans in meeting those needs at no extra cost.

However, Nucleaus Research analyst Rebecca Wettemann noticed that whether L.A.’s assertions are lawful or not, this is not going to help Google’s trustworthiness with the enterprise.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison brought up 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 the same scrutiny moving forward.

In the meantime, Google benefited from other government Apps contracts, which includes one with the General Services Administration for 17,000 workers that it earned in December 2010.¬† Google also scored a coup against Microsoft when it prohibited the U.S. Department of Interior from picking Microsoft not looking at other vendors’ software.