The Australian Government releases its Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper

Ann Steward - AGIMO
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Yesterday, David Tune released the draft ICT Strategic Vision for public consultation on this blog. The ICT Strategic Vision encourages innovation through examining and adopting new and emerging technologies more rapidly. As the first step, we have now finalised our Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper.

Back in January 2011, Glenn Archer released the draft Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paperfor public feedback. We were very pleased with the response. Over fifty agencies, companies and individuals responded to the draft paper. Thank you to everybody who provided feedback.

What was the feedback?

We have summarised the main points of the feedback below:

  • There were several requests from both government agencies and cloud computing vendors to meet with us to discuss the strategy. We have since met with these agencies and vendors.
  • Several industry members expressed the desire to participate in the Cloud Information Community (CLIC). We have since met with the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). The AIIA agreed to a reciprocal arrangement where the AIIA addresses CLIC meetings on a regular basis and we will address the AIIA Cloud Taskforce on a regular basis.
  • There were requests for us to develop a comprehensive local cloud service provider listing. As part of the cloud computing strategy, we will investigate possible panel arrangements for cloud providers in developing the cloud framework.
  • Some feedback expressed the need for strong links to national and international standards on cloud. This will be included in our development of the Cloud Framework.
  • There was also some concern that the strategy put forward was too slow or too conservative. We consider that the strategy is appropriate given the risks to privacy and security of holding sensitive information in the public cloud.
Changes to the Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper

Following feedback from members of the public, industry and other Australian Government agencies, the final paper has been updated to include further detail, especially in the environmental scan section.

So what is the Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper?

The Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper states that Australian Government agencies may choose cloud based services if they demonstrate value for money and adequate security. The strategy will enable Australian Government agencies to gain the potential benefits of cloud computing and ensure that sensitive information is not put at risk.

What have we done so far?

We have already established the Cloud Information Community (CLIC), which includes representatives from federal, state, territory and international governments. The CLIC will assist in information-sharing and developing the guidance documents described in the Australian Government Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper. We are also working with industry through the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). We have also transitioned the data sets on to the cloud. Many other agencies have also piloted or adopted cloud computing. The majority of these are described in the environmental scan within the paper.

What are the Next Steps?

We are now working together with other agencies to develop a Cloud Computing Framework that will include cloud principles, better practice guidance, checklists and governance arrangements for cloud computing. We also will work with agencies to investigate a cloud service provider certification program and a whole-of-government cloud service provider panel. Of course, we'll also continue to monitor local and international developments in cloud computing.

Where can I find the Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper?

The Cloud Computing Strategic Direction Paper is available on the Department of Finance and Deregulation website. I encourage you to read the strategy. Ann Steward Australian Government Chief Information Officer


Comments on this blog are now closed. Please let us know if you would like to discuss this post or have any general comments.

Comments (2)

On behalf of its members, and also the wider Australian ICT industry, the AIIA applauds the Australian Government's addition of a direct ongoing dialogue between the CLIC and the AIIA Cloud Taskforce.

Ian Birks
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Information Industry Associaition

Having read the cloud strategy - final version - I am left with an obvious question. If agencies are encouraged to investigate the use of private cloud solutions, where is the private cloud provider they could use?

The strategy does not seem to advocate the establishment of an Australian equivalent to the UK government's G-cloud initiative. The only initiative seems to be the shared data centre. Is this perhaps envisioned to evolve into something of a more comprehensive private cloud service in the future - ie infrastructure, applications, platforms etc?

If not, how will a government private cloud emerge here? Who is responsible for investigating its feasibility and providing the seed funding to get it up and running?

It could be set up for the use of multiple layers of government - at least State and federal, and maybe even local as the NBN tolls out.

I would see this as a bit like the NBN, from a project view. It needs a central investment to build the seed private cloud. A sort of 'build it and they will come' approach - which is really what is happening with the NBN.

Risky, perhaps, but so is the NBN, Visionary - definitely.

A private government cloud seems to have obvious potential and could never be delivered or evolved using public cloud infrastructure.

Last updated: 01 August 2016