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Updated: VA to move 600,000 email accounts to Microsoft cloud

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The Veterans Affairs Department has awarded HP Enterprise Services a $36 million contract to move 600,000 email accounts to the cloud.

Under the five-year contract, VA users will have access to email and shared calendars using Microsoft Office 365 for Government. Users, however, will not have access to additional features such as instant messaging and web and video conferencing.

“VA is moving to cloud-based email and collaboration as part of a broader effort to leverage emerging technologies to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and, most importantly, improve service delivery to our nation’s veterans,” Charles De Sanno, executive director for enterprise systems engineering at the VA, said in a news release.

The HP contract was awarded under VA’s Veterans Administration Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology, or T4 program.

The administration’s cloud first mandate requires agencies to first consider a cloud solution when procuring information technology. In addition to VA, Agriculture Department, Federal Aviation Administration, Defense Information Systems Agency and the Environmental Protection Agency are using Microsoft’s cloud-based email.

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Interior awards $35 million contract for Google cloud email

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The Interior Department expects to migrate 92,000 employees to a single cloud-based email system by December, according to a senior agency official.

Interior awarded a $35 million contract for cloud email and collaboration tools to Ohio-based Onix Networking Corp, according to an announcement on fbo.gov. The Google Apps for Government solution will also provide employees with instant messaging, desktop video conferencing, web-based collaboration systems and email on their mobile devices.

“That is one of our first big enterprise services that we hope we can ramp up quickly,” Andrew Jackson, deputy assistant secretary for technology, information and business services, said in an interview. “There will be a dedicated group that is launching and migrating and implementing the enterprise services.”

The award comes more than a year after a contentious battle between Google and Microsoft for Interior’s business.

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WH to officially name cyber czar today

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President Barack Obama will officially name Howard Schmidt, President Bush’s former cybersecurity chief, as the White House “cyber czar,” the White House has confirmed.

Schmidt spent about 18 months in the Bush administration, from December 2001 to May 2003, before returning to the private sector. He has also worked as Microsoft’s chief security officer, and eBay’s chief information officer; the White House says Schmidt’s close ties with industry were a factor in his appointment.

The Washington Post first reported the news of Schmidt’s nomination last night. Schmidt was long considered one of the two front-runners for the job, which Obama announced he would create during a White House speech on cybersecurity in May.

We’ll have more details about the announcement, including reactions from the cybersecurity community, throughout the day.

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