[LINK] Canberra eyes protected cloud
brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue Jul 7 08:51:15 AEST 2009
Canberra eyes protected cloud
July 07, 2009
THE federal government's data centre strategy may include using
software-as-a-service with extra security precautions, sometimes called
the "protected cloud".
The data centre strategy is based on the report of Peter Gershon, who
recommended greater efficiency in government technology spending.
More than 50 industry organisations have briefed a working group on a
whole-of-government approach to data centres, intended to deliver $1
billion in savings over 10 years.
John Sheridan, the business improvement manager of the Australian
Government Information Management Office, said the strategy -- one of
seven key recommendations from the Gershon review -- should be ready
later this year.
"We haven't ruled out any options," he said. "Industry has been telling
us what they could do for us, and some participants have talked about
things like cloud computing.
"Of course, we have to protect all our information in accordance with
privacy and security rules, but I am aware that a range of providers
already have appropriate security in their offerings, so we're looking
at the options."
Pressure on data centre space has forced a call for tenders for interim
arrangements to meet the immediate needs of several large departments,
but the whole-of-government regime will supplant single agency arrangements.
AGIMO's work plan was now being directed by the new Ministerial
Committee on ICT, supported by a revamped Secretaries ICT Governance
Board, Mr Sheridan said.
The MCI comprises members of the government's Expenditure Review
Committee -- chaired by Treasurer Wayne Swan with Deputy Prime Minister
Julia Gillard as deputy chairwoman -- along with the human services and
"For the first time, we have really high-level endorsement of what's
going on, and that's a significant change," Mr Sheridan said. "We're
achieving results due to the co-operation between agencies, and because
there is a cabinet mandate to do so."
Procurement had provided an early example of the benefits, particularly
concerning the Microsoft volume sourcing agreement.
"We've moved from 42 separate enterprise agreements on the core desktop
parts of our Microsoft spend to having some 88 agencies under one
agreement," he said. "We're getting a saving of at least $15 million per
annum over four years."
Two other whole-of-government agreements are under negotiation, for
telecommunications and desktop computing infrastructure, and the Finance
Department is pursuing a third, for procurement of office equipment such
as photocopiers and printers.
Mr Sheridan said AGIMO was pushing for more productive industry
engagement through workshops and codes of conduct. "The supplier and
customer codes are aimed at making it easier for industry to do business
with government ... but also for government to get better results from
industry as well," he said.
Agencies were also starting to explore suppliers outside Canberra to
reduce costs and risk. "The IT market in Canberra can be quite
expensive, so we are looking at how agencies can do business with firms
in other states," he said.
With the first round of cuts to agencies' business-as-usual funding
meeting the targets set by Sir Peter, AGIMO is turning its attention to
performance and wider collaboration for the second round.
AGIMO has looked at the top 53 agencies, and calculated a series of
benchmarks for measuring their internal progress, as well as for
comparison with other, similar agencies.
brd at iimetro.com.au
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