The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that it is on the verge of going live with a commercial cloud service offering for its Enterprise Messaging Service (EMS) which includes email, web conferencing, document collaboration, and instant messaging. USDA is the first cabinet-level agency to move its e-mail and collaboration applications to the “cloud,” a rapidly growing form of computing involving flexible, scalable services delivered over the internet.
USDA awarded the contract to Dell earlier this year for Microsoft Online Services in an effort to streamline agency messaging, reduce costs and improve efficiencies that build on existing infrastructure and allow USDA to extend its on-premise software investments agreements to the cloud solution.
Over the past six months USDA has worked closely with Dell and Microsoft on a comprehensive set of plans and actions required to successfully migrate 120,000 plus users to the cloud solution. USDA expects to begin moving employees within the next four weeks and has granted Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) Authority to Operate (ATO) for the Microsoft cloud infrastructure, certifying that it provides a trustworthy foundation for operations.
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