As part of NASPO ValuePoint’s Cloud Solutions cooperative procurement, Utah has awarded collab9, a Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) provider, a Cloud Solutions contract, which enables any of NASPO’s 50 member states, territories, and local governments and public education institutions to purchase the service.

“We’re thrilled to be awarded the State of Utah’s NASPO ValuePoint Cloud Solutions Contract. Following our recent FedRAMP Authorization, the addition of this contract to collab9’s portfolio of purchasing vehicles will provide the participating states, as well as cities and counties, access to the first and only FedRAMP/NIST 800-53 authorized unified communications service, which will be available through our comprehensive distribution channel of service providers, VARs, and prime contractors,” said Kevin Schatzle, CEO of collab9.

Schatzle explained that this contract will now enable smaller states and localities to buy with the purchasing power of Federal agencies.

“This is a big deal for us because now, not only do you have the states, but we can sell to local governments,” he said. “We kind of gave the lowest pricing that we would give to a Federal agency.”

collab9 became the first UCaaS provider to receive FedRAMP Moderate authorization in August. According to Schatzle, this authorization enabled the company to more easily meet security requirements at the state level.

“As a FedRAMP cloud provider, we were able to satisfy all the state requirements,” he said, explaining that states operate off the NIST 800-53 security framework, which also forms the basis for FedRAMP authorization on the Federal level.

The NASPO ValuePoint process specifically works by having one state, in this case Utah, which runs the cloud contracting, run a request for proposals. The contract that the state issues then applies to any state wishing to purchase the same service.

“They’ve aggregated the demand of 36 states,” Schatzle said, though he noted that the purchase opportunity does not apply exclusively to member states. “Any state can buy off this contract.”

So far, New York, Texas, Ohio, and South Carolina have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, solutions similar to the collab9 service, though Schatzle expects demand to increase.

“We think there will be a big push for the cloud,” he said. “We think that unified communications will be the next low-hanging fruit after email.”

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the proper name of the program and the number of members.

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