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LA proving a tarpit for Google, CSC

Remember last year when Google trumpeted its big-boy computing win over Microsoft in a major Los Angeles email-and-applications deal? Remember how the cloud-inflected Google Apps Premier system, deployed by Computer Sciences Corp., was gonna be awesome?

Well, it’s a  year-and-a-half later and we’re still waiting for the awesome.

All is not well with this deployment, initially valued at $7.2 million, according to The Los Angeles Times and other reports. Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group, found an internal city memo alleging that Google and CSC repeatedly agreed upon and then missed deadlines to solve security issues. Those failures made it impossible for the L.A. police department to move onto the Google system. (Note to Google/CSC: It’s not prudent to tick off the LAPD!)

These security issues kept half of the intended 30,000 users from moving to Google, according to the document.

Kevin McDonald, a vice president of Alvaka Networks, an Irvine, Calif. VAR, criticized the LA deal from Day One alleging that Google Apps (or any cloud solution for that matter) was not cooked enough to meet security requirements. And he now says his fears have been validated in spades.

“This would be funny if it were not so serious,” McDonald noted via email.

The  issue ripples beyond LA county. Now the U.S. Department of Justice is getting involved because Google’s claims to have attained federal security accreditatiion are in question. State, local and federal law enforcement agencies must be assured that their electronic communications are secure.

Predictably there are now reports of a potential lawsuit. McDonald snorted at that notion. “Sue? Who will they sue? The CIO who recommended [the Google implementation] or CSC who wanted the $7+ million contract and believed Google’s claims that it had a government-secure solution?”

The implementers say that the requirements changed. “This could be true, but only if you don’t know the regulations. For a company to represent that it has a solution which is appropriate for [law enforcement] applications where you know they will be connected to Federal systems? To say they are surprised that the criminal justice system has requirements. That is just weak.” 

Insult to injury, within a week of these reports, Microsoft announced that the federal version of its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), earned FISMA certification.

FISMA is the Federal Information Security Management Act  

 Let us know what you think about the story; email Barbara Darrow, Senior News Director at

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