Revised federal policy mandates government cloud use

By GovTechReview Staff
Friday, 10 October, 2014

The adoption of cloud computing in Australian government agencies has taken a big step forward after endorsement of a 'cloud-first' ICT policy at the highest levels of the Coalition government.

The Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy v3.0 formally adopts the 'cloud-first approach' at the federal government level, requiring that “agencies now must adopt cloud where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of data and delivers value for money.”

With the $6 billion in public-sector spending on ICT accounting for some 30 percent of the domestic market, the broad decision to push agencies towards cloud services reflects a sea change in the government's position towards cloud, which has gradually warmed from a cautious and conservative

“We are committed to leading by example, demonstrating the benefits of investing in and using cloud services,” communications minister Malcolm Turnbull and finance minister Mathias Corman wrote in endorsing the policy.

The migration to cloud services will happen over time as non-corporate Commonwealth entities move to consider cloud options whenever refreshing their ICT infrastructure. Public cloud services will be used for testing and development needs and for hosting public-facing Web sites, while private, public, community or hybrid clouds will be used for operational systems as appropriate.

Agencies will also be expected to evaluate and develop cross entity portfolio cloud services and to build on initiatives established by other entities.

Adoption of cloud services will be tempered by the requirement that services provide adequate risk management as defined in the Protective Security Policy Framework, while assessments of value for money will be guided by the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.

The new policy is designed to address what is assessed as “limited progress in adopting cloud”, with just $4.7m worth of cloud procurement through the AusTender service since July 2010. This represents just a tiny fraction of overall public ICT spending, with the new policy offering scope for improvement as well as the opportunity to drive flow-on effects into private-sector cloud adoption.

AusTender itself is among the services migrating to cloud-based environments, with a recent analysis recommending the service be piloted in a cloud environment for a one-year period “on the basis that cloud would provide superior value for money, provide greater confidence and [provide] implementation advantages.” – David Braue

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