Wednesday, 25 June 2014 14:08

OK to store data offshore, says Government Featured

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The Government has signalled an end to its policy of requiring government departments and agencies to get permission before storing information offshore.

Analyst group Ovum has welcomed the finding in the Federal Government’s Commission of Audit that there is too much red tape around storing data offshore, and that current policies are impeding the implementation of cloud computing.

“The Commonwealth Government has been slow to adopt cloud computing. A reliance on bespoke, legacy systems, concerns about the security and privacy of placing public data in the cloud, and general risk aversion all impede progress,” said the report.

Now, as part of its reduction of red tape policy, and possibly to satisfy the desires of US based IT companies, the Federal Government seems set to end the policy, announced last August under the previous Labor Government.

The policy requires government CIOs to seek the permission of both their own minister and the Attorney-General before storing citizen information outside of Australia

Kevin Noonan, research director at Ovum, said it was an ‘odd’ policy to start with. “It created significant bureaucratic impediments to the use of public cloud, even though the government’s own cloud policy encouraged government agencies to do otherwise.

“The red tape involved in gaining approval created frustrating problems for both industry and CIOs. It was a friendless strategy that helped nobody. The Government’s policy even made it more difficult for privacy advocates, because the policy focused too much attention on bureaucratic process, and not enough attention on efficiency and good quality outcomes.

Noonan said that the policy had created an environment where state governments have become Australia’s thought leaders in cloud implementation. “We hope the change of policy will now assist Federal Government CIOs to make real and demonstrable progress.”

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

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