The Federal Government has released a new cloud computing policy, replacing its July 2013 version. It says Government agencies must use cloud "where it is fit for purpose".
The Government says it will reduce the cost of its ICT by eliminating duplication and fragmentation, and that it will lead by example in using cloud services to “reduce costs, lift productivity and develop better services.”
Fine words, but it has its work cut out. The Federal Government is the biggest user of ICT in the country, making up nearly one third of all expenditure, but its own document admits that there have been only a “modest” $4.7 million in Federal Government cloud procurements since 2012.
“The Australian Government recognises that the community expects government services to be responsive to their needs and available where and when they want them,” says the policy’s Foreword, which is signed off by Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann.
“Key to realising this vision is the effective use of ICT by government, including the adoption of cloud services.
“To do this, government agencies need to think and act smarter when it comes to investing in ICT. The availability of cloud services offers an opportunity for government to deliver services more efficiently, as well as providing services that are more responsive to business and community needs.
The policy outlines a number of actions the Government intends to take to drive the greater usage of cloud computing:
# Evaluate cloud services for new ICT services and when replacing existing ICT services at ICT refresh points. To support the effective adoption of cloud services, The Department of Finance will release a Resource Management Guide (RMG) to reflect this policy.
# Update the Agency Solutions Database after acquiring a cloud service
# Trial the relocation of critical data to a secure government cloud using automated tools from 2014.
# Review the Data Centre as a Service Multi-Use-List during 2014
# Establish a Cloud Services Panel.
# Streamline obligations on entities relating to the storage and processing of Government information.
# Update information sharing to facilitate continual learning and establish a repository of case studies, better practice guides, practical lessons learned and information on entity solutions. Interested state and local government organisations will be invited to participate.
# The Government will assist entities to share experiences and best practice in developing contracts to successfully acquire cloud services.
# The Government will report on the use of cloud services across Federal Government entities.
# The government will continue to contribute to regional and international standards institutions and technical committees.
The policy aims to drive a greater take up of cloud services by Government agencies by adopting a ‘cloud first’ approach.
“Under the Government’s Cloud Policy agencies now must adopt cloud where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of data and delivers value for money.
“The Australian Government procures approximately $6 billion of ICT services annually and combined with state and territory governments, public sector expenditure on ICT accounts for approximately 30% of the domestic market.
“We are committed to leading by example, demonstrating the benefits of investing in and using cloud services.”