Australian government CIO Glenn Archer has announced the release of the Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy version 2.0 at the CeBIT trade show in Sydney.
The policy aligns with the National Cloud Computing Strategy launched by communications minister Senator Stephan Conroy, according to the Australian Government Information Management Office.
The new version of the policy recognises the opportunities cloud has for the government to achieve savings, greater agility and efficiency, according to Archer.
Archer said one of the biggest benefits government can gain from working in a cloud environment is improving its operations and interactions between government agencies.
Government ICT systems have been criticised in the past for being siloed and disparate, and Archer said that cloud computing would allow different government agencies to work under a more integrated policy framework.
“One [issue] that we have had for quite a while but it just getting worse, frankly, is the unbelievably complex nature of the interaction between me, government agencies and each other and external parties,” he said.
“What we see now is often very complex arrangements of linking IT systems which work just fine until you see there’s some change in the structure of a department or there’s some opportunity of government change and you have to manage that.
“In a cloud environment, policy ownership is not such a big issue because of your ability to move the underlying application between entities is much easier.
“And if you do need to form some kind of integration hopefully we will look to do that in a cloud environment not between physical departments of state.”
The updated policy also maps out the implementation of cloud computing initiatives. This includes government exploring the feasibility of a government community cloud in early 2014 and migrating public facing websites to cloud hosting at natural ICT refresh points this year.
However, Archer said he was cautious about moving everything into the cloud, saying that it might not prove value for money for some government agencies.
“A lot of the marketing spin around cloud is that it will save you lots of money. We might examine it and find that there are in fact situations where that is just not true or there impediments that are insoluble and therefore choose not to go there.”