NSW Government strategy prioritises public cloud


The new NSW Government Cloud Strategy directs “[g]overnment clusters and agencies” to use the public cloud to meet requirements going forward.

The strategy “will apply to new agency ICT services and the material replacement or renewal of any existing services, platforms, and infrastructure”. It builds on a tranche of digital transformation measures introduced in the pursuit of effective and efficient government.

In a media release published on 2 October, Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello  said the strategy would facilitate uniformity in cloud usage across the NSW public service. In addition, Minister Dominello stressed that during the process of buying and managing cloud services the “highest security, privacy and contractual safeguards” would be applied.

An agency will still be able to use the private cloud if it provides a substantive case that the public cloud is inappropriate. The agency will need to build its case, presented in “a briefing paper”, based on at least one of the following issues – “cost benefit analysis, market scan of public cloud services, or security assessment”. If an agency’s case is accepted and it is permitted to use the private cloud, this provision will only occur through Government Data Centres (GovDC), the government’s central hub for ICT provision.

The strategy also aims to cut costs associated with acquiring and sustaining ICT infrastructure, open doors for efficient and effective service delivery, and the capability to quickly respond to increasing demand for the provision of government services. The strategy also aims to overcome the existing inconsistency across agencies surrounding their uptake of public cloud usage through set deadlines for measures. 

The strategy stipulates that a quarter of agency ICT services must move to the public cloud by 2023. In addition, spending on infrastructure related to ICT will be slashed by a quarter over the next three years. The strategy notes that agencies are already looking to move away from private cloud use to better exploit capabilities such as Software as a Service (SaaS).

The strategy will be implemented through a two-stage process. The first stage covers 2020-2021 with the focus on setting up the framework, processes and procedures that include the move to the public cloud. The second stage, from 2022, will manage and oversee execution of the strategy, including the creation of a “cloud marketplace” and “cloud advisory board”. 

The strategy builds on existing momentum surrounding the adoption of public cloud by domestics and overseas governments. The Digital Transformation Agency’s Secure Cloud Strategy directs Australian Government agencies to “use public cloud services as the default”. The Australian Taxation Office has embraced the public cloud for “its mission critical applications” while the Australian Bureau of Statistics used it in 2017 to enable overseas Australians to take part in the same-sex marriage survey. During July 2020, the UK Government introduced the public cloud as an option for agencies in an effort to deliver better government services and to evolve service provision.

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