Australia releases policy on cloud computing

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Australia’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and the Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy Kate Lundy on Friday released a policy for the government’s use of cloud computing which will ensure government agencies can take advantage of the opportunities enabled by cloud computing and the National Broadband Network (NBN) while maintaining the privacy, security, integrity and availability of personal information.

“The policy will aid decision-makers in determining when to allow the use of offshoring or outsourcing on a case-by-case basis, “ Dreyfus said.

The policy builds on the National Cloud Computing Strategy released in May 2013. A key goal of the strategy is that the Australian government will be a leader in the appropriate use of cloud services.

“This government is an enthusiastic supporter of new technology such as cloud computing, especially where it not only facilitates government business but helps us get the best value for the tax payer dollar,” Lundy said.

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“Cloud technology offers not just agility, flexibility and scalability, but also cost savings. In fact, cloud computing is fundamentally changing the way we think about communications technology.

Lundy said that combined with the rollout of the National Broadband Network, cloud computing has the potential to revolutionise how people consume and use digital technology.

Government holds much unclassified data which, subject to a risk assessment, can be stored in a public cloud.

Information that requires privacy protection, however, requires stronger safeguards.

“Safeguards have been incorporated so that before personal information can be stored in the cloud, the approval of the minister responsible for the information, and my own approval as minister for privacy, must be given,” Dreyfus said.

Under the policy, security classified information cannot be stored offshore unless it is in special locations, such as Australian Embassies, or under specific agreements.

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