Josh Condie – Yesterday, Microsoft announced Office 365 for Government. This represents a great opportunity for our SMB partner community, especially at the local and regional government level. Small State and Local Government entities are the perfect candidates for secure and private cloud computing, especially when it comes to productivity and collaboration solutions. So often, small cities and counties are running many versions behind on both the client (Office and Windows) and the server (Exchange). With ever increasing federal regulations and requirements for these smaller entities to meet new technical certifications and respond to citizen FOIA requests, new tools are definitely needed. Unfortunately, a desire to upgrade is not the major issue. Our local governments are broadly, financially strapped. This is where Office 365 can address multiple needs: low upfront acquisition costs (including Office upgrades with certain subscription plans), upgrades to currently used services (messaging), and introductions to new collaboration tools that were previously cost prohibitive (Sharepoint and Lync Online).
With this new offering, we also address some of our Public Sector customers’ concerns around cloud privacy and security. Office 365 for Government is a new multi-tenant service that stores US government data in a segregated community cloud. As of yesterday, Office 365 fo Government supports the most rigorous global and regional standards such as ISO 27001, SAS70 Type II, EU Safe Harbor, EU Model Clauses, the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the US Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the US Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).
Here is the link to the announcement: http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft_office_365_blog/archive/2012/05/30/announcing-office-365-for-government-a-us-government-community-cloud.aspx
Information on Industry Volume Licensing options (which your aligned distribution partner can help you with): http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/licensing-options/for-industries.aspx
You can also visit the main SLG Industry site and get access to great Office365 eBook: http://www.microsoft.com/industry/government/products/office/365/default.aspx