The US Department of Energy has started shifting its Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory’s entire email system to Gmail from its decade used Sun Microsystems server. This great leap from the department has the intention of providing their over 5,000 employees increased efficiency and more flexibility, plus a reduced amount of maintenance budget over its current email provider, as shown in the following reports:
- With the cloud based email system, employees are now guaranteed of almost endless possibilities.
- They can readily share spreadsheets and avoid the total hassle of attachments, create email groups and talk online among others.
- In addition, unlike the Sun Microsystems style of system upgrade, this adapted email system from Google can be upgraded in real time with less cost and delay.
In figures, the department is ought to be able to save $1 million to $2 million in the few years to come with an annual budget range of $600, 000 to $700, 000. Although the department is contractor- controlled, given that it is owned by the US government made the laboratory undergo certain security protocols like the several hours of scrutinizing security boundaries and controls, privacy, and data collection. They even worked with legal counsels to make sure that matters concerning legalities of any issue can be addressed right away.
Despite the protocols observed in this current innovation on the department, still, non-stop speculations about the assurance of security have risen at fast rates. Many say that for sure, it couldn’t be guaranteed that the laboratory’s new email provider can assure that all data stored in the newly adapted email system would stay in US-based servers thus potentially exposing it to hacking and other web related crimes .
With the switch of email servers, the laboratory has also encountered a number of problems along the way. For example, they haven’t set Gmail yet as the default email provider for Microsoft Office. Also, they are still figuring out how to allow the employees to share and send bulk sizes of spreadsheets or email attachments.
These weren’t seen as too much of a problem however because the department, as emphasized, is focusing on the long term effects and benefits of the project. As more tests are done, the department will come up with a decision in six months on what steps to take next as this shift is strategically taken.
Adam Stone, the Berkeley policy, assurance, and risk management officer, has pointed out that the functionality of Google’s cloud email system drove the department to adopt it and that they wouldn’t pursue it in the first place if the risks of adopting it would greatly outweigh the foreseen benefits.
High ranking officials of the department certainly view the cloud based email system as a hybrid one which can allow a complex combination of functions and tasks for an email. But of course, this wouldn’t be possible if all issues concerning the new system wouldn’t be resolved and polished.
In estimation, the entire laboratory would complete its switch by summer since as of January; almost half of its employees have shifted already.