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GSA Backs Google's FISMA-certified Claim on Apps for Government

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Maybe the he said, she said dynamic between Microsoft and Google regarding the certification of Google Apps for Government under the Federal Information Security Management Act will calm down a bit now that the General Services Administration has issued a statement in support of Google's claims. (Maybe it won't, but one can hope, anyway.)

 

After Microsoft VP David Howard called Google out for "misleading" the government and its customers because Google Apps Premier had been certified, but Apps for Government recertification was still in process, Google struck back.

 

Eran Feigenbaum, director of security for Google Enterprise called Microsoft's allegations false and "irresponsible." Feigenbaum wrote:

We received FISMA authorization for Google Apps from the General Services Administration (GSA) in July 2010. Google Apps for Government is the same technology platform as Google Apps Premier Edition ... In consulting with GSA last year, it was determined that the name change and enhancements could be incorporated into our existing FISMA certification. In other words, Google Apps for Government would not require a separate application.

It makes sense. And in the event that explanation isn't enough to satisfy curious customers and the more skeptical of us in the media, the Government Services Administration released its own statement on the issue, which corroborated Google's claim. According to GCN, the agency said, in part:

Google Apps for Government uses the Google Apps Premier infrastructure but adds additional controls in order to meet requirements requested by specific government agencies. The original FISMA certification remains intact while GSA works with Google to review the additional controls.

It's as simple as that. At first I wondered why Microsoft had to make such a big deal before getting all the facts, but then I realized my own reaction was exactly why. Microsoft wanted to raise questions in the minds of the public as to Google's integrity.

 

Unfortunately, I think the strategy backfired. Google is vindicated, and Microsoft looks like a bully.

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