Los Angeles County opts for Office 365

Los Angeles County opts for Office 365

More than 120,000 county and law enforcement staff in Los Angeles County will migrate to Office 365, beginning next month. The county is also consolidating 15 department contracts into one as part of the countywide agreement, Microsoft said in its announcement.

Software included as part of the Office 365 contract includes SharePoint, Lync and OneDrive, according to Richard Sanchez, Los Angeles County's chief information officer. The county also envisions using Web applications in the field to support its mobile workers, including sheriff, food inspectors and social workers.

County officials said Office 365 was chosen because of its support for 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," said Dr. Robert Pittman, Los Angeles County's chief information security officer, in a prepared statement.

Capt. Paul Drake of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department noted that the county will use Office 365 services instead of upgrading its servers. "Once Microsoft established CJIS compliance, this was really a no brainer," he said in a prepared statement.

CJIS compliance appears to have been a 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 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 part of FBI guidance for all government agencies and contractors using criminal justice information. It generally describes the kind of security and infrastructure that governmental agencies handing such 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 the online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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