REDMOND, Wash. — May 6, 2014 — The San Bernardino County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department has chosen Microsoft Office 365 to put the department on a single, always-up-to-date technology platform. By taking advantage of Microsoft’s cloud services, the sheriff’s department expects to save money, help ensure compliance with security and privacy regulations from the FBI, and enable mobile workers on the front lines of the geographically largest county in the United States. Once Office 365 is fully implemented, it will provide law enforcement officers and support staff with a secured, compliant way to collaborate with each other across 60 locations. Office 365 can also enable the department to better respond to citizen needs, investigate crimes and carry out administrative tasks, in addition to providing better disaster preparedness and quicker, more informed incident response.
Due to budget constraints and a three-year distributed upgrade cycle, the department had multiple offices running different software. The department wanted to unify its platform, which also needed to meet the privacy and security requirements of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) and the California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System (CLETS) for data access and management. Office 365 provides the department with a solution that helps meet these regulatory standards and has enabled the department to merge work onto a single, unified platform.
“I think the ‘aha’ moment for me was when I actually reviewed the documentation that Microsoft had put together for regulatory compliance,” said Ted Byerly, systems development team leader, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. “It went over and above what we expected. They understand what those compliance and regulatory bodies are saying and doing, and they’ve met those requirements.”
Another benefit of Office 365 is the ability to leverage the cloud instead of relying on a limited number of on-premises servers. For example, in the event of disasters such as earthquakes, the Sheriff’s Department is on the front lines of emergency response and employees need to have access to information immediately. Cloud support enables department employees to do that by connecting to systems and data even when power is out in other parts of the county. This means officers can better and more efficiently serve the community in adverse conditions or scenarios.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize that if we can get information to a deputy on the streets faster, we can be safer and take care of the communities much better,” said Shannon Dicus, commander of the information services division, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. “That’s really where the return on investment lies.”
The department is implementing these Microsoft solutions:
- Office 365. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s adoption of Office 365 is starting with a rollout of 200 seats in April 2014, completed in partnership with Planet Technologies, followed by a phased implementation of an additional 2,800 seats.
- Microsoft Lync videoconferencing. As part of Office 365, Microsoft Lync videoconferencing capabilities will enable Sheriff’s Department staff to hold face-to-face meetings virtually, instead of requiring staff to drive as much as four hours to attend in-person meetings.
- Windows 8 ruggedized devices. The department plans to deploy 100 ruggedized Dell devices running Windows 8.1, which meet CJIS and CLETS standards and allow secured, mobile access to data.
“A big part of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s charter is to ensure and protect the safety of its community,” said Michael Donlan, vice president of state and local government, Microsoft. “By moving to a government cloud platform that is reliable, agile and compliant, the department can focus on this mission and work together to build solutions more quickly, efficiently and securely. The upcoming rollout of Microsoft Lync and the Windows 8.1 devices will further enable the department to transform the way it helps citizens and increase its effectiveness.”
The benefits of Office 365 extend beyond enhancing collaboration and citizen services. The department has also been able to free up resources. With the always-updated cloud-supported platform, IT staff no longer have to spend one day a week managing security issues and upgrades for its complex system. Instead, they can focus on other, more strategic projects.
“As a result of using this technology, we’re able to free up some of our employees who have historically been tasked with maintaining our servers,” said John McMahon, sheriff, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. “Those employees will now be able to work on things that will make our deputy sheriffs’ jobs easier. As we continue moving forward, our goal is to provide the best service to the citizens we serve and make access to critical information more available.”
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