[LINK] Canberra eyes protected cloud

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Tue Jul 7 08:51:15 AEST 2009

Canberra eyes protected cloud
Karen Dearne
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 
communications ministers.

"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.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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