In October of 2021, AUCloud was named a \u201ccertified strategic\u201d cloud provider by Australia\u2019s Digital Transformation Agency for meeting the requirements to hold protected public sector-data as specified by its new Hosting Certification Framework. The framework requires all \u201cwhole of government\u201d systems and those that are classified as \u201cprotected\u201d to be hosted only by certified strategic service providers and data centers by June 30, 2022.\n\nWe recently connected with Phil Dawson, managing director of AUCloud and the company\u2019s co-founder, to learn why he believes the mandates within the framework are crucial for Australia\u2019s government agencies. We also discussed what he believes makes cloud services truly sovereign and what it means for AUCloud to be one of just 10 enterprises worldwide to have earned the VMware Cloud Verified Sovereign Cloud distinction.\n\n\u201cThe new Hosting Certification Framework includes myriad requirements to ensure that the data of Australia\u2019s government agencies is hosted \u2018with the appropriate level of privacy, sovereignty, and security controls,\u2019\u201d says Dawson. \u201cTogether with the Australian Cyber Security Centre\u2019s Cloud Assessment and Authorization Framework, the requirements play a crucial role in safeguarding the trust of Australia\u2019s citizens. Citizens want to know that the services that host their data have complete jurisdictional control and authority over it.\u201d\u00a0\n\nDawson is quick to point out that merely ensuring that data is kept within the country is not enough. Ensuring the sovereignty of the \u201cdata supply chain\u201d is crucial.\n\n\u201cThe reality is that regardless of where in the world many cloud providers hold data, foreign-owned providers are subject to the laws of their own nation, such as the United States CLOUD Act, that could force them to hand over data on Australian citizens,\u201d he adds. \u201cWhile foreign-owned providers may claim to keep Australian data onshore, the nature of their global operations means that a lot of metadata, and data linked to analytics and support operations, can still find its way into data centers around the world. Even if this is not the case, because they are foreign owned and hence subject to the laws of the country where they are owned, they can be compelled to provide access to the data they hold irrespective of if it is the sovereign data of another country. Genuine sovereign cloud services mitigate that risk and help maintain trust in a national digital infrastructure. That\u2019s why Australia\u2019s specific sovereign cloud requirements are not only well-founded, but worthy of emulation.\u201d\n\nAUCloud\u2019s services are engineered to include the security controls and standards associated with the protected data the company\u2019s customers work with. These customers include Australia\u2019s federal and state government agencies, enterprises in critical industries and technology partners that support applications in these areas as well as those used in the national defense and intelligence fields.\n\nCloud services the company offers include Compute-as-a-Service, Storage-as-a-Service, Backup-as-a-Service, Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, Security Operations Center-as-a-Service and more recently, Desktop as a Service and Workspace ONE.\n\n\u2018Data security is our DNA\u2019\n\nAUCloud\u2019s customers and partners typically work with a wide range of personal and sensitive information. Examples include personally identifiable data that\u2019s important in healthcare settings or for the purpose of delivery services to citizens, and information sensitive to the operation of agencies and the execution of their business.\n\n\u201cData security is our DNA,\u201d says Dawson. \u201cOur customers demand the highest levels of security. Compliance and transparency in meeting those standards is equally important. Critically, we support our customers regardless of where they are in their digital maturity, whether it\u2019s initial work to transition from on-premises legacy systems to developing tomorrow\u2019s next generation of cloud native services for Australia\u2019s citizens.\u201d\n\nDawson also says that the move to the cloud is inevitable for most government entities. As with their private-sector counterparts, cloud solutions enable new ways of working and are more cost effective \u2013 an attribute AUCloud strengthens through its transparent pricing arrangements and commitment to no hidden or additional costs such as ingress or egress charges or exit fees.\n\nNotably, citizens\u2019 increasing reliance on digital technologies, the related exponential increase in data volumes, and the growing interest in cloud-native applications are also pushing traditional infrastructure to the limit. \u00a0Much more agile and scalable cloud-based approaches are necessary to not just ensure the cost-effective movement and effective storage of data but to ensuring data is appropriately secure and accessible. He points to VMware as an important partner in helping agencies make this transition successfully and with confidence.\n\n\u201cMany government agencies rely on VMware in mission-critical roles,\u201d he says. \u201cFor these agencies in particular, using VMware-based cloud solutions within a sovereign cloud environment makes the transition to the cloud easier and reduces risks and costs.\u00a0 That\u2019s why it\u2019s so important to AUCloud that we received the VMware Cloud Verified Sovereign Cloud distinction. It\u2019s an important validation that gives our customers the peace of mind knowing that they can access the cloud with the security, compliance, and interoperability they expect and associate with VMware\u2019s technologies.\n\n\u201cWe are very proud of our work,\u201d says Dawson. \u201cEverything we do reflects our commitment to ensure that the nation\u2019s data \u2013 namely, citizen data, and all the metadata, support, analytics etc data associated with it, remains safe and secured in Australia and not exposed to the risk of extraterritorial access by non-sovereign jurisdictions.\u201d\n\nLearn more about AUCloud and its partnership with VMware here.