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VA Plans to Move 600,000 Employees to Cloud Email

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The Veterans Affairs Department plans to move 600,000 employees and contractors to Microsoft’s cloud-based email and calendar system over the next five years, the vendor managing the transition said Tuesday.

VA will pay HP Enterprise Services $36 million to manage the transition to Microsoft’s Office 365 for Government, HP said in a press release. The first phase of the transition will involve moving 15,000 employees to the cloud-based system, HP said.

“VA is moving to cloud-based email and collaboration as part of a broader effort to leverage emerging technologies to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and, most importantly, improve service delivery to our nation’s veterans,” Charles De Sanno, executive director of VA’s Enterprise Systems Engineering group, said in a statement.

VA will join numerous other agencies that have already begun or completed the move to cloud email, including the General Services Administration and the Agriculture and Labor departments.

GSA established blanket purchase agreements with 17 cloud email vendors in August, hoping to save time and money for future agencies making the transition. Those vendors mainly offer email systems managed by Microsoft and Google. They also offer Domino Web, an IBM system, and Zimbra, an open source system.

Email has been a popular item for agencies to move to the cloud because it presents comparatively low security concerns and cloud storage makes it easier for employees to access email, calendars and collaboration tools from personal computers, smartphones and tablets. The government expects to ultimately save $5 billion annually by moving about one-fourth of its information technology to more nimble cloud computing. 

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This story has been updated to clarify that employees and contractors will be using VA's cloud email system

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Discuss the future of Federal IT with experts, innovators and your peers on Dec. 3 in Washington at Nextgov Prime, the defining event in the federal technology landscape. Learn more at nextgov.com/prime.

Joseph Marks covers cybersecurity for Nextgov. He previously covered cybersecurity for Politico, intellectual property for Bloomberg BNA and federal litigation for Law360. He covered government technology for Nextgov during an earlier stint at the publication and began his career at Midwestern newspapers covering everything under the sun. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a master’s in international affairs from Georgetown University.

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