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Microsoft's Office 365 For Government Heralds New Google Fight 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the whether-the-bear-wins-or-the-fox-wins-the-rabbit-loses dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "In a bid to expand the reach of its cloud services, Microsoft has introduced Office 365 for Government, which features the same cloud-based productivity tools as Office 365 but stores data in a segregated community cloud. Google and Microsoft have been locked in vicious battle over the past few years to score cloud contracts for government agencies. Microsoft hopes its support of standards such as ISO 27001, SAS70 Type II, HIPAA, FERPA, and FISMA will help to give it an edge in winning those contracts."
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Microsoft's Office 365 For Government Heralds New Google Fight

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  • FIPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dr. Tom (23206) <tomh@nih.gov> on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @04:51PM (#40160271) Homepage

    I like how FIPS-140 isn't mentioned as a supported standard.
    Yeah, use our cloud, it's probably secure.

  • by Gonoff (88518) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @04:58PM (#40160333)

    I am in the UK and anything based in the USA, or controlled by US companies is by default insecure.

    Sorry guys but anything your spooks think they can get away with fooling around with is not suitable for anything remotely confidential. That won't stop some crook who happens to work stealing it, as happened in NZ but we have to at least try.

    And that is before we get into your commercial 'confidentiality' practices...

    Perhaps you guys might consider offshoring your secure storage to somewhere with some decent Information Governance regulations.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @05:13PM (#40160503)

      I am in the UK and anything based in the USA, or controlled by US companies is by default insecure.

      Sorry guys but anything your spooks think they can get away with fooling around with is not suitable for anything remotely confidential. That won't stop some crook who happens to work stealing it, as happened in NZ but we have to at least try.

      And that is before we get into your commercial 'confidentiality' practices...

      Perhaps you guys might consider offshoring your secure storage to somewhere with some decent Information Governance regulations.

      Actually, that's why Microsoft created the private cloud version of Office365 (the "for Government" part). Right now, if any country chooses it, there's no guarantee where data is stored. It was one egg-in-face moment when Microsoft announced that Google doesn't guarantee your data is stored locally, then realized the same applied to it.

      This is an attempt to rectify that - letting and ensuring that data is stored where you want it to be stored.

      It's a big problem because yes, any data stored on a US machine is subject ot US laws, where even Canadian companies dealing with the Harper Government have to ensure that the data doesn't leave Canadian soil (yes, storing on a US server counts).

      It's one of those more obvious errors about the cloud and government that you'd think the cloud providers would've thought of...

      • > It was one egg-in-face moment when Microsoft announced that Google doesn't guarantee your data is stored locally, then realized the same applied to it.

        You can stay off the cloud with Microsoft Office and run your own Sharepoint, Exchange for collaboration. Google doesn't offer such a solution. So I don't know what's the egg-in-face about it.

    • by beamin (23709)

      You can bet it won't be to a country whose cops are working for Rupert Murdoch.

    • Just storing something that requires outside internet access and data storage is insecure compared against storing data locally. If you think all US developed software is insecure you are free to build your own system, nothing is stopping you. And what the hell has the UK developed that even comes close to US software companies like Apple and MS?

    • by s.petry (762400)

      What you point at in the UK is the same thing we in the US point at when dealing with "Cloud". No matter what the vendor says, when the data is not stored locally there is a huge amount of risk.

      One of the reasons I ended up leaving my last employer was that they were insistent on allowing foreigners (India/China) access US controlled data. The amount of time spent trying to find loopholes, lobby congress for law changes, and trying to convince people it was a "great idea!" was disgusting.

      I don't think man

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @05:03PM (#40160397)

    Microsoft hopes its support of standards such as ISO 27001, SAS70 Type II, HIPAA, FERPA, and FISMA will help to give it an edge in winning those contracts.

    *laughs* Okay, seriously, you made half of those up, didn't you?

    Hey, guys, look at my cloud app stuff! I'm compliant with ISO 8675309, TRS-80, THX 1138, HAL 9000, HERPY, DERPA, NIMROD, OSHA, FERMI, and CERN! Hee hee!

  • Standards? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MikeMacK (788889) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @05:10PM (#40160463)
    Hmmm...yes, because Microsoft is all about standards compliance...
    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Hey it gets us less dependent on the host OS, as everything is run in the browser. And that's a good thing, isn't it? This assuming Office365 is not IE-only of course. I know that's probably a stretch though... even though IE is getting more standards compliant than ever.

  • by jmerlin (1010641) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @05:22PM (#40160589)
    Guaranteed victory: don't massively change the interface of your applications for business users without giving them the ability to keep the present version, especially when those changes dramatically change functionality or usability (in case you didn't get the reference, see gmail).

    It may be a simple request, but Microsoft is absolutely OWNING you in this realm, it's called consistency and stability. They've done office productivity software for a long time and they got this one right (don't like Ribbon + other bad UI choices?, keep using 2003, and here's a service pack that makes 2003 work with 2007 files!). Learn from them. The cost of re-training thousands of employees because they're used to using software version 1.0 after you FORCE them to upgrade to 1.0.0.0.1b with fancy new UI is more than enough to justify never using your products, ever again.

    Most accurate and appropriate video ever, and a precisely why Office 365 threatens Google at all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4EbCkotKPU [youtube.com].
    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>> keep using 2003, and here's a service pack that makes 2003 work with 2007 files!)

      And what if someone sends me a 2010 file? In that case I have no choice but to upgrade to the new Office with its shitty ribbon interface (where I can never find the function I want).

      • by jmerlin (1010641)
        http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/microsoft-office-compatibility-pack-for-word-excel-and-powerpoint-HA010168676.aspx [microsoft.com]

        Formats supported. I'd still use 2003 over any other version. I'd also still use classic gmail over any other web-based email app, but that's a literal impossibility now, because Google doesn't understand the value of old versions.
      • by s.petry (762400)

        The funny thing is, the guy claims MS is consistent and stable. Then talks about how you have to get service packs just to work between versions, and he completely omits the Ribbon fuck up that is preventing most companies from migrating to newer versions of Office.

        At a place I recently worked, it was estimated that converting 10,000 users to new office would require well over a million dollars in training and additional head count to support users, in addition to MS licensing and not counting productivity

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          I understand if they dumped Microsoft Office for OpenOffice or LibreOffice, but its simply insane to migrate to Google Docs under a justification that "retraining is expensive"

          At least with the former, you can continue running an old version if training costs to roll out a new version are too high. With Google Docs, you are quite literally *forced* to upgrade on Googles timetable.

          The person that looks like the shill is you.
          • by s.petry (762400)

            Retraining for Libre or Google, which looks and acts exactly like the MS product pre-Ribbon? Really? There is no retraining needed. MS has already started telling companies that they want to drop support for 2K3, but received enough push back from customers that they are holding for now.

            The money in migrating away from MS is really in conversion of data, not retraining people.

        • by jmerlin (1010641)
          What part of not being required to upgrade Office did you not understand? Good luck preventing Google from updating your apps.
  • What a piece of cr@pola! All I can say is I HATE Office 2010 - I hate that god awful ribbon bar. I can't find ANYTHING with it. Outlook (in the cloud) is like a Yo-Yo - It's up, it's down, it's up, it's down. And MS Lync - please! It's just a rolled over version of MS Communicator.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      I hate that god awful ribbon bar. I can't find ANYTHING with it.

      Every time when I run into someone having the same experience as you, I ask what they're doing and they're always trying to insert something (object, table, picture, link). So I then advise them that since they're trying to insert something, they should click on the insert tab. Solves their problem %100 of the time.

      If you're mentally thinking to yourself that you want to insert something, and there's an insert tab/menu item. I sugest clicking on it.

      • by s.petry (762400)

        Which is fine until you realize how much is not in the tabs at all, or that you have to add tabs to perform basic actions, or how when you perform certain actions the icons in the tabs will change so "fishing" is not always simple. It's very left handed to perform many common tasks, and the constant tab switching is extremely unproductive.

        The other horrid feature is the text preview. Go ahead and select-all in a 10 page doc then try and change the font with preview in default mode. Come back in 20 minutes

    • by jmerlin (1010641)
      Have you tried office 2003? It's pretty awesome.
  • right after all the money is made moving everyone to mainframes ... uh, I mean the cloud, I expect we will see a new movement to move everything back to local environments. Everyone totally remembers all the problems with mainframes, right?
    • Everyone totally remembers all the problems with mainframes, right?

      Yep, I work with one and I have to to make an PHP application interact with it.
  • *Anything remotely positive about Microsoft Office.* = TROLL. *Anything negative about Microsoft Office, throw in a $ for the S in Microsoft* = Oh very insightful, very insightful indeed! Grow up mods.

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