‘Cloud first’ federal government procurement policy launched

By GovTechReview Staff
Thursday, 30 May, 2013

A wholesale movement of Australian government Web sites is among the many initiatives mooted after Australia’s federal government released a 'cloud first' policy that requires federal agencies to prioritise the use of public cloud services for new IT purchases.

The National Cloud Computing Strategy (NCCS) – launched at the CeBIT conference in Sydney by minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy Stephen Conroy – is built around three core goals: maximising the value of cloud computing in government; promoting cloud computing to small businesses, not-for-profits and consumers; and supporting a vibrant cloud services sector.

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) will take a key role in efforts to promote cloud adoption across government agencies. This includes the pursuit of specific action items around the three core goals, including:CloudComputingStrategy

  • Educating government decision makers about how to evaluate, procure and manage cloud services.
  • Establish information-sharing initiatives for sharing best-practice case studies, risk management approaches and practical lessons based on other agencies’ experiences.
  • Adjustment to procurement practices so that government agencies are required to consider public cloud services for new ICT procurements.
  • The transition of public-facing Web sites to public cloud services.
  • Development by year’s end of a business case that will analyse the benefits and drawbacks of centralising the provision of cloud services to Australian government agencies.

AGIMO has been working to formalise policies for cloud computing for years: for example, the agency released its Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper, two years ago.

Having cloud procurement formalised as government policy, however, takes the idea to a significant new level. Conroy’s department will work with the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research, and Tertiary Education to enlist member associations and tailor information to particular industry segments, improve SMB education about cloud services, and enhance the existing Digital Enterprise, Enterprise Connect, Technology and Knowledge Connect, Digital Local Government and Small Business Advisory Service programs.

The government will also work with the Australian Computer Society and other stakeholders to develop a voluntary Cloud Consumer Protocol to improve disclosure and transparency for cloud consumers. It will also formalise guidance for cloud providers around the new privacy laws that will begin in March 2014.

As well as promoting and educating the market about cloud opportunities, the NCCS will see the government working with industry and educational institutions to build skills and training pathways for “cloud-aware ICT professionals”. Australia will be promoted through Austrade as a “trusted hub” for data storage and processing, with the aim of luring foreign investment and participation. The government will also be closely involved in ad hoc cloud computing issues as they arise. – David Braue

Read the full policy (PDF) here.

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