Monday, February 7, 2011

Sada Systems and Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks

Learn how SADA helped state wildlife and parks department comply with cloud email storage regulations to fully utilize Google Apps

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) oversees 26 state parks and a variety of wildlife areas, nature centers, and state fishing lakes. The agency employs roughly 420 employees in six divisions: Executive Services, Administrative Services, Information Services, Fisheries and Wildlife, Law Enforcement, and Parks. The department supports multiple offices and remote employees such as natural resource officers, field biologists, various biological technicians and more who utilize mobile devices quite frequently.

SADA Systems, Inc. is a privately held information technology consulting, outsourcing, and development firm founded in 2000. SADA started as a Google partner for its search technology, and is proud to be one of the world's first 10 Google Apps partner, having participated in the Google Apps official launch campaign in February of 2007. SADA is highly experienced in Google Apps migration, implementation and deployment for the enterprise, education, non profit and government sector.

KDWP had already been running a Google Apps test program for a few months and appreciated the collaboration and communication capabilities. The initial 45 test users were especially pleased with the availability of the cloud tool suite. Being able to access files from any web browser and the additional calendaring and global directory functionalities played a big part in the department’s ultimate decision to go Google. While preparing to migrate all of its email users to Google Apps, the department ran into a slight hiccup--due to government regulations, KDWP is required to maintain its email storage strictly on U.S. premises. Gmail is stored in hyper secure databases all over the world so the goal was to find a way to limit the organization’s email storage to only route to U.S. data centers.

SADA Systems was engaged to assist the department with its unique migration requirements. After identifying the organization’s specific needs and comprehensively evaluating government regulations for email storage, SADA developed a viable workaround that ensured complete compliance with aforementioned security policies.

  1. SADA migrated data from existing Google Apps and legacy email accounts to a secure SADA test domain.
  2. Google deleted all data & mailboxes.
  3. Google set up the KDWP accounts with special restrictions so emails would be stored in the U.S. only.
  4. Afterwards, SADA enabled user provisioning and completed the Google Apps email migration.

But what happened to emails sent to users during the migration when Gmail was essentially turned off? SADA modified Google Message Security, powered by Postini, to quarantine and hold all messages sent to Kansas State Wildlife during the migration period. Once the email migration was complete, SADA released all quarantined emails. Because the timestamp was retained, users were able to see each message in the order they were received.

While the migration was mostly handled by the IT department itself, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Network Administrator, Dan Gasswint, was relieved to have SADA knowledge and expertise with the Google Apps suite at hand. “SADA was really helpful; they answered all of my questions and were pretty well available every time we encountered an issue. We are happy to have had them address problems during the migration and deployment process.”

KDWP was able to complete the migration and put Google Apps into production for over 400 employees after 2 months. While employees are still learning about the collaboration opportunities available with Google Apps, the department’s interest in going to the cloud is helping drive staff adoption and satisfaction.