National cloud plan to boost innovation
Stephen Conroy. Photo: Tamara Voninski
Government agencies will move their public-facing websites to the cloud as part of the federal government's new push to increase the use of cloud computing in both the public and private sectors.
The strategy, revealed by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy at CeBIT Australia in Sydney on Wednesday, aims to promote cloud computing among individuals, businesses and government departments in the hope of boosting productivity, Senator Conroy said.
Cloud computing allows data and applications to be stored and accessed on the internet rather than on local servers.
"Cloud computing is fundamentally changing the way we think about technology," Senator Conroy said.
The National Cloud Computing Strategy will promote cloud services to small business, non-profit organisations and the public, aiming to give them the "protection and tools they need to acquire cloud services with confidence".
It also requires federal agencies to consider cloud services and tasks the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) with providing better guidance to government decision makers on how to evaluate the benefits of cloud services and how to procure and manage them.
It charges the Federal Department of Finance and Deregulation (DOFD) with enhancing procurement practices to ensure that government agencies are required to consider public cloud services for new ICT projects.
"Moving public-facing websites to cloud hosting and development systems to public cloud platforms are two examples of ways for agencies to gain additional experience in using public cloud," the document states.
While there may be some public websites "not appropriate to be hosted on public cloud services", the government says "where appropriate and where the service represents value for money, agencies should move their public-facing websites to public cloud services in line with natural ICT refresh cycles".
Government agencies should also use public cloud services for their IT development and testing needs.
Senator Conroy said that because data could be available anywhere and any time, cloud computing would foster innovation and boost productivity.
The document also promises to foster the development of a skilled cloud-aware workforce in conjunction with industry and universities and reiterates Senator Conroy's wish to promote Australia as a "trusted hub" for international data centres in conjunction with Austrade.
The strategy relies on Labor's $37.4 billion national broadband network (NBN) to improve access to cloud services. It promises to deliver fast internet speeds by fibre optic cable to 93 per cent of homes, businesses and schools by June 2021.