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July 08, 2013

Australia Government Releases Cloud Computing Policy

As cloud computing continues to gain traction around the world, more countries are instituting policies to help maximize its use while maintaining the privacy, security, integrity and availability of personal information.

Australia recently released a policy for the government’s use of cloud computing that would also help decide when to allow work to be done overseas or outsourced on a case-by-case basis, according to a PS News report. The new policy builds on Australia’s National Cloud Computing Strategy, which was introduced in May.

“The safeguards we have put in place will ensure the Government can take advantage of cloud computing to reduce storage costs and improve efficiency while still ensuring the external storage and processing of data only occurs where the privacy of personal information can be properly protected,” said Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.

The new policy, known as “The Australian Government Policy and Risk Management Guidelines for the Processing and Storage of Australian Government Information in Outsourced or Offshore ICT Arrangements,” aims to provide a structured approach to undergoing a risk assessment for outsourcing IT that pertains to Australian government information.

According to a statement on the Attorney General’s website, “The guidelines provide a consistent and structured approach to undertaking a risk assessment when considering outsourced or offshore arrangements for Australian Government information. They aim to help government decision-makers evaluate the benefits of the adoption of cloud computing services; and help agencies to consider the contextual risks specific to their agency and operating environment.”

Australia’s National Cloud Computing Strategy is made up of three main points: maximizing the value of cloud computing in government; promoting cloud services to small business, not for profits, and consumers; and supporting the cloud sector.

In related news, the fallout from the PRISM revelations – the alleged U.S. national security electronic surveillance program – is having implications around the world, with the vice president of the European Commission calling for the creation of a European cloud network in order to rebuild trust in cloud computing, TMCnet reported.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes suggested five ways to tackle trust and security issues online, with the first step being a transparent legal framework.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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