In an era of gravitational shifts in ICT delivery, Cloud is potentially the most pervasive and disruptive wave in a generation. IT departments are finding themselves significantly challenged in the re-imagination of the definition of services and the ways in which they are procured, managed and measured.
![Government Cloud Policy 2014](/content/images/2015/05/ausgovpolcover-3.PNG)
Cloud services are marketed very heavily on a set of expected benefits to organisations, some of which only apply to a subset or specific industry vertical. The Australian government has been proactive in addressing cloud through the development of a policy, now it its third iteration while state governments a following closely behind and disseminating their approach through to the local government strata. Australia has adopted the US standard (NIST) for defining what “Cloud” means the key characteristics of which are:
**On Demand self-service**
Consumers can provision environments automatically including compute and storage without direct human interaction.
**Broad Network Access**
Services and capabilities are accessible from anywhere and on any authorised device.
Services must be built to provide for multiple customers or tenants with the ability to dynamically assign resources across consumer controlled geographies.
Capabilities can be scaled up or down quickly and potentially automatically in an effectively unlimited manner.
Services provisioned for tenants must be metered and reported to provide customers with transparency as to the effectiveness of the service in question.
The extension of these key tenants provides cloud consumers with 3 compliant service models to choose from:
**Software as a Service (SaaS)** – Applications run on Cloud Infrastructure where the consumer has no responsibility for the application, its back-end or the underlying infrastructure
**Platform as a Service (PaaS)** – A capability provided to customers where they can host their custom apps. Here the customer takes responsibility to manage the app or service but not underlying infrastructure or operating systems.
**Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)** – A virtual data centre where the customer does not take responsibility for underlying infrastructure but has the ability to provision and manage environments, operating systems and so on.
So what does this all mean for our Australian government landscape? From a federal perspective the policy wording in the Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy is just short of mandating cloud as a preferred approach, recommending a path to get there with low risk environments addressed first. State policy in Victoria and NSW is a little more conservative, recommending consideration of cloud services as a minimum whilst reflecting that good procurement diligence is required for all technology selection, whether in-house or cloud based. At both state and federal levels, approaches are proposed which make good sense and align well to any architectural framework and process.
**Your posture** – So where are you at? One simple measure we guide our customers through is a brief assessment of maturity based on the following model:
We find the majority of government departments and local authorities we are dealing with are beginning the process of cloud adoption. To now there has been some resistance due to privacy and sovereignty issues but the shackles are off and positive steps are being taken towards next iteration environments. The only way is up it would seem and Australian Government is very sensibly on board. It seems from an industry perspective that they may just be getting it right. The proof though will be in the procurement numbers over the next couple of years – how much of the $6 billion government ICT budget will be spent on cloud?
For more information on each of these policies, follow the links below:
[Australian Federal Government Policy and Guidelines](http://www.finance.gov.au/cloud/)
[Victorian Government CIO Council](http://www.digital.vic.gov.au/resources/cloud-framework/)
[NSW ICT Strategy](http://www.finance.nsw.gov.au/ict/resources/nsw-government-cloud-services-policy-and-guidelines)
**If you would like to speak to TD about Cloud, or any other technology, please [contact us here](http://www.thomasduryea.com.au/contact/).**