Australian govt guides agencies on cloud adoption

The Australian government has issued its finalised guide for government agencies looking to move to the cloud.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has issued its finalised guide for government agencies that are considering adopting cloud services.

The guide to implementing cloud services (PDF) is designed to work in parallel with the AGIMO better-practice guides that were issued earlier this year.

The guide states that agencies need to first assess the business needs and impact it will have on the government. Agencies should evaluate which services would be appropriate for the cloud, with the guide highlighting that shared services, as well as services that have uncertain demand, could benefit from cloud flexibility and ought to be considered.

Agencies should look at "trigger points" for the time to move to cloud-based services, such as when systems are due for replacement or upgrade, or during pilots.

Government agencies must also consider what budgetary impact moving services to the cloud will have — whether it will be an additional cost or a saving.

When it comes to implementing the cloud service, agencies are instructed to build a business model to determine the resource requirements and lifecycle cost. Security is also vital, with agencies told to assess who has access to the data kept in the cloud, where the data is being held, what foreign laws cover it, and what physical security protects the data.

The guide states that agencies should also prepare exit strategies in case they then decide to move away from the selected cloud vendor. Agencies must consider what data needs to be archived, how it will be transferred or destroyed if required, and what liabilities exist.

When the time comes to go to market, the guide states that agencies may choose to use the "Data Centre as a Service" multi-use list that was established by AGIMO, which will be in place from November this year. The list of potential suppliers is designed for smaller government agencies that are looking for services that cost less than AU$80,000, and for contracts running for less than 12 months.

The document takes a more encouraging approach to cloud adoption than the previous cloud-cautious stance that has come under criticism in the past. Earlier this month, Ovum research director Steve Hodgkinson said that Australia's position is in contrast to New Zealand's "cloud-first" policy.

"The contrast between the two countries' positions is subtle but important, because significant barriers to cloud adoption are deeply embedded in the 20th-century ICT procurement policies and practices of agencies," he said.

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