Twenty-five thousand employees at the Environmental Protection Agency will be emailing from the cloud soon, using Microsoft Office 365. EPA hired Lockheed Martin to manage the migration to the collaboration and communication service. It will also provide engineering and integration services.
“A key to successful migration besides addressing the security compliance requirements, dealing with customized applications, tools and policies is gaining user buy-in through clear communications,” said Sean Patton, Lockheed Martin’s director of business development for Energy Solutions. “We’re putting a lot of effort in with Microsoft and the EPA right now to ensure the users will be trained and ready for the migration.”
Patton told The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp Thursday employees needed to understand the differences between their current email system tools and special applications of 365.
“They’ll be able to use collaboration tools from their desktop and their mobile devices on the fly,” he said. “That’s going to be tremendously powerful for them. They just need to be aware of all the kinds of new capabilities they’ll have.”
Lockheed’s training will help employees learn how to navigate around the new system and how it’s different from their current system.
“They will see a very familiar look and feel through Office 365 compared to what’s on their desktop,” Patton said. “Their email will come up and their calendar will look very similar, maybe the logo in the upper left will reflect the EPA’s logo as opposed to what they’re accustomed to. But, overall, I think that they’ll be able to navigate very simply through both SharePoint collaboration tools and their email.”
Lockheed will implement 365 using EPA’s active, onsite directory for authentication, so the active directory policies for employees’ passwords will remain in place.
“For the end users, they’ll be able to log in from their mobile device and from their desktop as usual,” Patton said. “However, the active directory will map over to the Internet Office 365 federated gateway and enter then a robust series of security protocols ranging from all the way to the server and the data centers, where they’re doing system level monitoring and controls, all the way down to component levels in the data center through the way they actually interact from the data center to the Internet.”
The active directory component will remain on an EPA server, so the systems administrators will be able to add or subtract users or make other changes locally.
Included in EPA’s collaboration package is Microsoft Communicator, which will allow employees to communicate via video chat and other online collaboration tools. Documents can also be stored online using SharePoint collaboration sites.
Patton estimated full migration would be completed by early 2013.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-9 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.