The Australian Government has just released a third version of its Cloud Computing Policy. The new policy can be found here, although for additional context, it is located as part of a range of documents associated with Cloud Computing Policy, found here.
The document is a significant step forward from previous years. Previously departments needed to demonstrate that they had considered using Cloud before they implemented any new systems. The new policy is far more “Cloud-friendly”: the policy is now described as “cloud first” and states that “agencies must adopt cloud where it is fit for purpose, provides adequate protection of data and delivers value for money.” (emphasis on ‘must’ included in original document”
The government makes it clear this is the desired direction: “… agencies have made limited progress in adopting cloud. A significant opportunity exists for agencies to increase their use of cloud services through the Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy.”
“We are committed to leading by example, demonstrating the benefits of investing in and using cloud services”, the foreword goes on to say. Reflecting this, the stated policy goal is to “reduce the cost of government ICT by eliminating duplication and fragmentation and will lead by example in using cloud services to reduce costs, lift productivity and develop better services”
Whereas previously government agencies were asked to first consider Cloud, the new policy states they are “required to use Cloud services for new ICT services and when replacing any existing ICT services, whenever the cloud services:” are fit for purpose, offer best value, and manage risk adequately.
The policy encourages departments to consider cross-entity cloud facilities. Public cloud facilities are recommended for hosting public facing websites and private, public, community and hybrid are recommended for operational systems.
The government sees its role as a technical leader in the wider marketplace: “There is also an important flow-on effect to the broader economy. Combined with states and territories, government expenditure on ICT makes up approximately 30 per cent of the domestic ICT market. Improved adoption of cloud services by the government sends an important signal to the private sector. If government agencies were perceived to be treating cloud services as risky, this could reduce the adoption in the economy more generally.”
I think this is very encouraging for Australian uptake of Cloud – not just in a restricted public-cloud way, but in a full-spectrum use of Cloud technologies. After all, if the Government is mandating Cloud, what excuses do other businesses have?