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AWS ups ante on cloud services for Australian government

Cloud supplier AWS says government agencies can now assess the prospect of running protected workloads, following an independent cloud security assessment

This article can also be found in the Premium Editorial Download: CW Asia-Pacific: CW ANZ: Australian firms connect people in new ways

Australian government agencies and departments can now assess the prospect of running highly sensitive workloads with the protected security classification in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Sydney region.

This comes after efforts by the cloud service provider to undergo and complete an independent assessment through the Australian Signals Directorate’s Information Security Registered Assessors Program (Irap), an initiative that certifies cloud services for government use and endorses ICT professionals to provide security services.

AWS now offers 46 services that support protected workloads from government agencies and departments, which can manage their own risk assessment and self-accredit workloads in line with requirements laid out in the Digital Transformation Agency’s Secure Cloud Strategy document.

To assist government cloud buyers, AWS has prepared documentation that details how it meets each requirement to securely and compliantly process data. 

AWS said it will continue to work with the Australian Signals Directorate to include its AWS Protected government cloud package on the government’s certified cloud services list. So far, only specific cloud services from Dimension Data, Macquarie Government, Sliced Tech and Vault Systems are certified to run protected workloads.

Australian government agencies can use outsourced cloud services on that list, but they must also review potential financial, privacy, data ownership, data sovereignty and legal risks.

“At AWS, security is always our highest priority. We welcome the Secure Cloud Strategy as a positive step in empowering government agencies and departments to assess risk as part of their IT transformation projects,” said Andrew Phillips, AWS Australia and New Zealand public sector country manager.

“This milestone will enable customers to run secure workloads at the protected level on AWS cloud, with the assurance that citizen data is highly secure,” he said.

Read more about cloud computing in Australia

Besides AWS, Microsoft is also courting the Australian government through two new datacentre regions for its Azure cloud computing service that will handle both protected and unclassified government data.

When ready by the first half of 2018 in Canberra, the new regions will “accelerate the digital transformation of the Australian government at federal, state and local levels”, Microsoft said.

Government technology disasters, combined with a big increase in tech spending, are helping to carve out a several billion dollar opportunity for public cloud providers.

In 2017, Phillips said the opportunity for public cloud in Canberra for all cloud suppliers is of the order of “billions of dollars”, although he is unsure how quickly that size of market will emerge.

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