The New Mexico Judiciary serves to protect the rights and liberties of the people of New Mexico guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the State and the United States; to resolve legal disputes fairly; and to ensure access to justice for all. The IT department of the New Mexico Judiciary provides infrastructure services for 2,000 individuals, including the State’s Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, 13 District Courts, and 46 Magistrate Courts.
For nearly a decade, the Judiciary utilized an open source product, Zimbra, for email and calendar functionality. It also used disparate resources for phone conferencing, video meetings, and document storage. None of these siloed offerings were connected or integrated with each other.
The Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) is a New Mexico state law intended to provide the public and media with access to information about governmental affairs. While public officials are encouraged to provide public access and honor legitimate requests for records, they must often redact sensitive and private information within the documents as part of the compliance process.
The IT department receives and executes IPRA requests and is responsible for editing and exchanging documents among various government agencies in a secure fashion. The Judiciary was in need of a more secure, efficient, and collaborative suite of tools to better serve the public.
“The security status of each of the communication and collaboration products we were using was highly variable and could not easily be fixed or upgraded,” said Pat Mente, Deputy Chief Technology Officer. “We were ready for a big change.”
With the help of SADA’s consulting team, New Mexico Judiciary evaluated Google’s G Suite, Microsoft Office, and a newer version of Zimbra. “At the end of the day, for what our requirements were for email, security, and of course, the bottom line, G Suite was the best fit for us,” said Racquel Trujillo, Project Program Coordinator.
SADA put its experience to work for the New Mexico Judiciary, making clear, effective decisions that would deliver the most impact. SADA helped the Judiciary implement Google Vault, with unlimited storage, for easily searchable, secure documents, as well as Gmail, Calendar, Chat, Docs, Slides, and more. In addition, SADA migrated the great majority of emails that had ever been generated in Zimbra over to G Suite since judicial emails are subject to IPRA requests.
“SADA knew each product and could tell us use case scenarios for the applications and how each would benefit our environment. They provided the necessary training and implemented G Suite in a systematic way for our Judiciary,” said Trujillo.
Together, SADA’s team of experts and the New Mexico Judiciary IT staff developed operational user groups (OUs) for each of the courts, granting different levels of authority and customized rules. A lot of pilot work was accomplished at an OU level to test out new ideas before rolling out to all of New Mexico’s judicial branches.
“The value we have received from G Suite is amazing. With increased mobility, enhanced collaboration, and robust, government-friendly security and compliance, it’s just invaluable,” said Dick Wilkinson, Chief Technology Officer. “The security features alone have made a world of difference—the accountability, the audit capability, the transparency that comes along with being able to share a document and view who’s seen it—to me, that’s worth every penny.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Mexico Judiciary used Google Meet to ensure that citizen services continued without interruption. The Judiciary held courtroom sessions remotely with judges, attorneys, defendants, and jurors joining Meet from various different locations. The system is hosting 1,100 meetings per month on average.
SADA enabled New Mexico’s Judiciary to:
- Migrate approximately 2,000 users from the legacy Zimbra environment to G Suite
- Transition from disparate siloed open source tools to G Suite’s integrated suite of cloud-native tools including Gmail, Meet, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Vault
- Empower judges to hold courtroom sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Take advantage of G Suite Business’ unlimited storage capacity
- Provide the highest level of privacy and security for document storage and sharing
- Develop and execute training, communication, and support materials for users
*Note: G Suite was renamed Google Workspace on Oct. 6, 2020