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Microsoft Scores Contract To Deploy Office 365 for L.A. County

The county of Los Angeles will begin moving 100,000 public sector employees, including 20,000 law enforcement personnel, to Microsoft's Office 365 suite starting in July.

According to Microsoft's announcement on Wednesday, Office 365 services will be used across all of L.A. County's 30-plus departments. The county is also consolidating 15 contracts into one as part of the county-wide agreement.

The contract is being managed by Microsoft partner En Pointe Technologies, which estimates the deal at $72 million in licensing revenue. The contract is one of the largest Office 365 government contracts this year, according to En Pointe's announcement. The Gardena, Calif.-based IT solutions provider estimated that the county will save more than $2.5 million annually after the first year of deployment.

The software to be used as part of the Office 365 contract includes SharePoint, Lync and OneDrive, according to Richard Sanchez, L.A. County's chief information officer. The county envisions using Web applications in the field to support its mobile workers, including sheriff, food inspectors and social worker personnel.

Office 365 was selected by the county because of its support for various regulatory standards and IT security specifications, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) specification. Office 365 supports various compliance standards, as described at Microsoft's Office 365 Trust Center page.

"Office 365 provides the level of security and built-in compliance for HIPAA and CJIS that we require," explained Dr. Robert Pittman, L.A. County's chief information security officer, in a prepared statement.

Captain Paul Drake of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department noted that the county will use Office 365 services instead of upgrading its servers. He added that "once Microsoft established CJIS compliance, this was really a no brainer," according to a prepared statement.

The CJIS compliance issue appears to have been a major stumbling block for Google and its partner, Computer Sciences Corp., back in 2011, in a different contract with the city of Los Angeles. At that time, the city of Los Angeles was trying to move to Google Apps from its older Novell Groupwise infrastructure. Microsoft had lost the Los Angeles City contract to Google back in 2009, ironically because the city was embracing Google's cloud-based services instead of upgrading its infrastructure.

In 2011, the city's law enforcement agencies indicated that they couldn't use the Google Apps for Government Edition because of the lack of CJIS compliance. Possibly, that part of the contract fell through.

Google's compliance list for Google Apps for Government Edition indicates that its service currently meets Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) compliance. However, CJIS compliance isn't listed. The CJIS spec is an FBI guide for all government agencies and contractors using Criminal Justice information. It generally describes the kind of security and infrastructure that governmental agencies handing Criminal Justice information should have. Nonetheless, it's not clear if all government agencies require CJIS compliance. For instance, Google claims that government "agencies in 44 states and [Washington] DC use Google Apps."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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