Wyoming ‘goes Google’

A friend passed this on to me. Wyoming has switched all of its state employees over to using Google Apps for Government, making it the first state to rely solely on the search giant for its Web services.

Other states use Google Apps for some of their services, including departments in Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico, Google says.

Google is, of course, excited about the roll-out. The company posted the news to its official Google Blog and produced this video:

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead says Google Apps will save the state $1 million a year. In an announcement posted yesterday to Google’s Enterprise Blog, Mead said that his office was the first to transition to Google.

Mead writes:

Not only has Wyoming cut the cord and gone to cloud-based computing, allowing more mobility for and collaboration between employees, this is also the first time all of our employees have been on a shared email platform. This means greater efficiency and it will almost certainly lead to better service to the public. It also saves money in costs related to servers, licensing and staff. In addition, compared to what we would have spent for equivalent features in our previous system, we anticipate dramatic savings associated with email storage and overall security.

The state also held a live-streamed announcement this morning at 8 a.m., which I, of course, had no idea about until after it was over.

There are concerns about moving government services into the cloud… None of them was raised in the Google and Wyoming announcements this morning, but I’m sure someone in Wyoming is thinking about this. I should hope. Here’s one concern to note:

One challenge currently faced by public sector data owners is that classified, restricted or simply sensitive personal data is often stored on the same systems as less sensitive, operational data. Working out which data could be moved, and which could not, is an extensive task and one for which few public sector CIOs have the appetite.

I’m going to make some calls to the Montana government and find out if anything like this is planned for our state. I’ll see what comes out of it.