Work is well underway on a whole-of-government cloud policy designed to kick off the NSW public service’s transition to cloud-based sourcing of its ICT, with the Department of Finance and Service’s (DFS) William Murphy expecting to release a final position statement before the end of 2013.
At its last meeting, the NSW Government’s peak ICT body, the ICT Board was brought up to speed on progress of the draft NSW Government Cloud Computing Policy and Guidelines.
“The Policy and Guidelines provide a clear policy statement about NSW Government use of cloud solutions and taking advantage of the flexibility and agility that they provide,” says the meeting communiqué.
Speaking at Intermedium’s NSW Government market briefing in North Sydney on 20 March, Executive Director of Strategic Policy at DFS William Murphy said that he anticipated that a firm and endorsed policy statement would give NSW public servants the confidence they need to actively pursue cloud solutions.
“A lot of public servants get a bit nervous when it comes to cloud,” he told attendees.
“There are a lot of IT people in government who would like to go this way but they still have a lot of questions about using this form of IT delivery for government. Some of these questions are easily dealt with, but some of them are a bit more complex, especially those regarding things like data sovereignty, information security and the management of exits from these sorts of arrangements,” he said.
But he was also at pains to point out that his Department would not be prescribing a plan of attack for agencies.
“The document will not be a cloud strategy. It will not say ‘this is how we get all of government into a virtual environment’. But it will be a framework that agencies can use to transact cloud services for their environment,” he explained.
The policy will be informed by close analysis of five cloud initiatives already underway, or soon to be underway, within the NSW Government, including:
- Messaging-as-a-service and desktop-as-a-service proof of concept trials to be run by ServiceFirst;
- Department-wide ERP consolidation into the cloud at the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services;
- Email-as-a-Service implementation at NSW Fire and Rescue;
- Multi-tenanted email-as-a-service at NSW Businesslink; and
- Infrastructure-as-a-service at NSW WorkCover.
The cloud policy will shape the State’s path towards its ultimate cloud goal, which is to have agency ICT environments fully migrated to a private Government cloud by the end of 2015.
With this in mind, it is likely that the NSW Government’s cloud statement will make a stronger case for cloud adoption than the risk-based approach of its Federal counterparts.
The Federal Government’s cloud computing policy statement directs that: “The Australian Government and its agencies may choose cloud based services if they demonstrate value for money and adequate security”.