Editors note:The City of North Las Vegas recently made the move to Google Apps for Government, and today we welcome guest blogger, Alfonso “Al” Noyola, to discuss their transition.

Like many cities around the country, the City of North Las Vegas was hit hard by the recent economic downturn. With our resources slashed, we had to cut costs while maintaining service levels for our employees and residents. The challenge was daunting, but we were determined to find a solution. We decided to move all 1,300 North Las Vegas employees to Google Apps for Government because cloud applications are more affordable than server-based systems and meet our security needs.

We thoroughly researched Google’s security practices and discovered that Google’s FISMA-certified cloud technology not only met our security standards, but was even more secure than our legacy system. This is critical for our police and other departments. In addition, our old program was unreliable: in June 2010, our system went down, and the City couldn’t communicate via email for five days. We now share important information using Google Docs. Google’s security permissions allow us to control who has access to the information, and no one has to rely on email attachments to access important documents. With Google Apps’ 99.9% uptime guarantee with no scheduled downtime, we know our information is always available when we need it.

In addition to improved system security and reliability, moving to the cloud has resulted in tremendous cost savings. In the next five years, we’ll save an estimated $1.2 million by replacing the email system alone. That number rises exponentially when other potential savings are factored in from retiring our older productivity software.

The transition to Google Apps went smoothly with the help of Google Apps Premier Reseller SADA Systems. With a few weeks of cloud computing under our belt, we’re amazed at the positive feedback we’ve received from many employees. Moving to Google Apps has saved precious resources and improved security to ensure North Las Vegas continues to thrive through one of the toughest economic recessions in recent history.