Los Angeles Adopts Gmail

Yesterday, Los Angeles city council voted to become the largest city in the United States to rely entirely on Google’s gmail to run its e-mail system. The city’s 30,000 employees will now have their e-mail managed and stored by Google.

There are certainly concerns with handing over this type of function to a third party. Any gmail user will know that it sees its downtime, like any other service. I would guess, though, it’s probably no more often than any other employer-provided e-mail I’ve ever had.

Naturally, security is a huge concern. After all, it was just weeks ago that Google had to change its practice of allowing certain voice mail transcripts of users of its Google Voice system which were posted online to be searchable by search engine crawlers.

The LA police will be the last users to migrate over to the gmail system once the security and integrity of the system has been proven.

As lawyers, the security of our communications is critical. I can rely on the infrastructure of a large firm to make sure all the necessary security is in place. I wonder, however, when I receive e-mails from someone using yahoo or gmail for professional purposes, whether that security level has been assured. The stringent requirements that the LAPD is sure to require may generate gains for everyone relying on google for their e-mail.

As an aside, if this generates even more use of “the cloud” for everyday computing, America may need another Hoover Dam.

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Comments

  1. Hello Evan

    Thanks for bringing these news to slaw. It’s all over the net today, with reason. Largest city to adopt Google Apps, that’s quite an achievement for Google.

    Quick comments:

    I’m not worried about downtime with Google Apps. I have been using Google Apps for over a year (15+ email accounts) and never experienced any downtime, either inbound or outbound (that I know of). This is probably due, to a large extent, to five levels of redundancy built in their email servers / MX records
    In terms of security, Los Angeles City Council’s decision appears to have been influenced by the prospect of Google providing GovCloud (see reason 2 in this article), enabling, in the future, email / calendar / other Google Apps info from government clients to be segregated from other Google Apps users, located in the US and encrypted
    Re: your comment “I can rely on the infrastructure of a large firm to make sure all the necessary security is in place. I wonder, however, when I receive e-mails from someone using yahoo or gmail for professional purposes, whether that security level has been assured”, I am of a different opinion. Google is essentially a very, super large firm with a lot more resources to dedicate to security etc. whereas a law firm, even a large one, will at best have a small IT staff that operate a dedicated server for the firm. If you consider the three facets of security (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability), I’m not sure the email system of a law firm would come out ahead of Google Apps, in practial security terms (and not theoretical browsing of emails by a Google employee).

    My two cents worth! ;)