Texas is currently in the process of moving more than 100,000 state workers to the cloud, which is a massive deployment for a state government. The state recently signed a contract with Microsoft to give workers access to Office 365 in order to provide secure cloud services. According to Microsoft, it will be the “largest state-wide cloud deployment of email and collaboration services in the United States.”
The agreement between Texas and the software giant complies with federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) security standards and the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS). Because Microsoft could meet the extremely rigorous standards handed down by the federal government, the company was very attractive to Texas. Security of citizens’ and state government information was the highest priority for officials during the process of choosing a company with which to partner.
Todd Kimbriel, director of e-government for the Texas Department of Information Resources, outlined the strategy:
“One element in the public sector here in Texas that everyone holds in the highest regard is that we have to protect the information of the citizens,” he said, adding that CJIS security standards in particular provide an unmatched level of security.
“Anybody that’s going to touch a computer system, server or mainframe where data exists has to go through an FBI background check.” That means every administrator who has access to cloud data must be vetted by the federal government.
Read Texas Moves More Than 100,000 State Workers to Microsoft Cloud on Government Technology.
This partnership is a forward-thinking move from which other states could learn and perhaps follow suit, but one of the great benefits of the agreement may come through the bottom line. The contract with Microsoft, in addition to being CJIS compliant, not only provides a level of security that no other potential vendors offered Texas but also is set to save the state money. The current monthly cost of the Microsoft agreement, per user, represents a 75 percent discount for the state government.