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2/15/2013
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Texas Lassos Office 365

State reaches agreement to adopt Microsoft's cloud-based applications after forcing additional security and privacy steps.

Microsoft Office 2013: 10 Best Features
Microsoft Office 2013: 10 Best Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The state of Texas has struck a deal with Microsoft to make the vendor's cloud-based Office 365 applications available to more than 100,000 state employees.

The deal calls for Microsoft to provide email, collaboration, web conferencing and document and calendar sharing to Texas state agencies, as well as to municipal and county government. Microsoft called the agreement the largest statewide deployment of email and collaboration services to date.

To close the deal, Microsoft agreed to establish a data center in San Antonio and attach a "security addendum" to the contract. The agreement requires that Microsoft employees with access to the data center undergo FBI background checks.

[ Wonder what extras the latest Microsoft cloud apps offer? Read Microsoft Office 2013 Gains Free Bing Apps. ]

The addendum aims to assure compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) requirements. The state's Department of Criminal Justice, Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Department of Insurance, and Health and Human Services System require access to data that is subject to strict security and privacy regulation, according to Microsoft.

Todd Kimbriel, director of the Texas Department of Information Resources (TDIR), said in an interview that he believes the agreement for extra security measures is the first of its kind. Microsoft is incorporating both physical and procedural controls in the San Antonio data center, he said.

Some Texas agencies, including the Health and Human Services System and the departments of Information Resources, Insurance, Motor Vehicles, and Transportation, already use Office 365. The Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Department of Criminal Justice are expected to tap the Microsoft apps next.

The state's 125 agencies aren't required to adopt Office 365, so the business case has to sway them. Kimbriel calculates Office 365 is 75% cheaper than the email systems already in use at state agencies. "We have 125 IT departments and CIOs, but we can't force" them to switch, he said. "We have to come up with better products and solutions, better value."

The initial focus is on the 28 largest agencies. For every 10,000 mailboxes moved to Office 365, the price goes down a penny per mailbox per month, Kimbriel said.

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AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2013 | 5:01:16 PM
re: Texas Lassos Office 365
Logically, the reason Texas asked for a data center was so it would be dedicated to the state of Texas (aka Private and multi-tenant since there are multiple agencies involved). The MS/Dell deal has nothing to do with the MS/State of Texas deal. If there is enough money and security at stake, I am sure MS would be willing to build a datacenter anywhere it was deemed necessary. All problems can be solved by making rational decisions.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2013 | 4:55:56 PM
re: Texas Lassos Office 365
Sorry you are having such a run of bad luck. Hope you can push thru it. Powershell is your friend... if you know how to use it properly. Microsoft has a site with links to all known issues regarding Office 365 and now Office 2013. Search it and maybe it will help with your situation.

My experience has been quite different on all aspects you touched on. Not seeing much negative press either along the same lines you mentioned.

Merging two organization's different IT frameworks together are difficult no matter what technologies are employed. I would posit that if both are already on O365 then is would be easier to accomplish than say one on Google vs. one on O365.

btw - I will put up MS tech support against the mostly non-existent Google support any day of the week. With the right support relationship with MS, you can jump past the Level 1 techs and get to the answer you are looking for more quickly.
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2013 | 2:48:49 AM
re: Texas Lassos Office 365
Here's what I'm interested in finding out - this data center in San Antonio (although, really, shouldn't it be in Round Rock given the MS/Dell deal) is it going to be restricted to only use by the State of Texas? If so, does this mean that Microsoft is prepared to build data centers for any other possible state clients? If not, is Microsoft going to require that all employees with O365 data center access are going to have to undergo FBI background checks?

Could be quite the precedent there...

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/27/2013 | 2:45:53 AM
re: Texas Lassos Office 365
Do you mean how Office365 has issues as soon as Office 2013 went live? Or how "interesting" life is when you have to administer your Exchange server via PowerShell and the processes that worked a few months ago don't work now? Or Microsoft's wonderful tech support?

And finally, ever done a merger between two organizations using Office365? In that process right now, and it's been a while since I've had a conference call where everyone on the call squirms in unison when you mention that both orgs are on O365 already.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/19/2013 | 7:45:58 PM
re: Texas Lassos Office 365
Really? What other platform even comes close to offering what Office365 does? And, don't say Google because... well... Olive already beat you over the head with that one.
Olivetyson
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Olivetyson,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/16/2013 | 9:57:58 PM
re: Texas Lassos Office 365
Office 365 now has the following huge clients:
State of Texas, State of California, State of Minnesota, New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco, among others. In the Federal level, it has the Depart of Veterans Affairs (700,000).

In contrast, Google Apps has the following tiny government entities: City of Orlando, Pittsburgh, State of Wyoming and City of Los Angeles.

However, Los Angles wants a refund from Google, Inc. for non-performance of contractual obligations. How embarassing is that??
http://betanews.com/2011/10/20...
GBARRINGTON196
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GBARRINGTON196,
User Rank: Strategist
2/16/2013 | 4:13:42 PM
re: Texas Lassos Office 365
I thought Texas was better run than that. I expect a bonehead move like that from Illinois, but Texas surprises me.
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