Government moves ahead with cloud computing strategy
Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain says the Government is taking the next steps towards the adoption of cloud computing, paving the way for improved services and significant cost savings.
Cloud computing will enable government agencies to pay per-use for ICT products and services delivered through networks, rather than maintain their own ICT infrastructure.
“Cloud computing is an exciting, emerging technology which will contribute directly to better public services, promote innovation, and substantially reduce costs,” says Mr Tremain.
“There are many opportunities for implementing cloud-based services across public sector agencies. The first will be cloud-based office productivity services like email, spreadsheets and word processing, which will improve consistency and enable much better collaboration between agencies.
“Cloud technology will also provide immediate access to the latest software versions, updates, and patches. It will create economies of scale that can help foster innovation and take advantage of new technologies as they become available.
“This allows services to be developed much more quickly by using cloud-based technologies on demand, rather than going through a long development and implementation time frame. Using ICT as a service allows immediate access, customisation and quick implementation.
“These technologies are pervasively changing the nature of ICT service delivery across the world. Cloud technologies can significantly change the way the public sector operates, enabling the provision of better public services for all New Zealanders.”
Q & A
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing enables the use of ICT resources on a pay-per-use basis, using data and services stored externally. This avoids the need for agencies to invest in their own ICT infrastructure and capability. A good comparison is the provision of electricity services.
This is an evolving business model that is gaining global momentum. It has been proven in other countries that it can significantly reduce the cost of ICT.
Will government departments be required to adopt cloud computing models?
All agencies will be expected to take a ‘cloud first’ approach when making procurement decisions.
This is expected to drive the standardisation of technology solutions and services, but does not necessitate the selection of only one solution for all agencies.
Agencies will continue to have flexibility to directly engage with service providers but will be expected to act within all-of-government frameworks
Are cloud-based models being used by governments overseas?
Yes – Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the USA are developing all-of-government frameworks to manage cloud adoption. We are closely monitoring these developments, and this will usefully inform the Department’s work in this area.
Will information stored in the cloud be secure?
The security of and access to information stored in the cloud remains paramount and the Government is taking a conservative, cautious approach. For the time being, cloud-based office productivity services will be hosted onshore to enable us to better manage these issues.
The Department of Internal Affairs is developing robust frameworks to ensure that internationally recognised security, access and audit practices will be in place. The Department will report back to Ministers on the development of these frameworks by the end of the year, and these will be closely considered before further decisions are made.
Are there any privacy issues associated with cloud?
Privacy issues are no greater than under the current system, where information is stored using onsite servers. In many ways cloud technology offers better protection to private information.
What are the next steps?
The Department of Internal Affairs will issue a Request for Proposal to provide onshore-hosted cloud-based office productivity services.
In parallel, a policy framework is being developed by the Department of Internal Affairs in collaboration with other agencies. The Department will report back to Ministers by the end of the year.”