Canberra cloud tick for Microsoft

3 months ago admin Comments Off on Canberra cloud tick for Microsoft

Microsoft has received a big tick from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) to get more of its cloud services into the public sector.

The ASD has formally certified a greatly expanded range of Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365 services for inclusion on the ASD Certified Cloud Services List (CCSL), with James Kavanagh, national technology officer, Microsoft Australia, saying that the move paves the way for Microsoft to provide the most comprehensive and trusted hyperscale cloud for Australian government.

The latest certification will see more than 50 cloud services across Microsoft Azure & Office 365 made ready for use by the government agencies. The services are cleared to process and store ‘Unclassified’ information holding Australian government Dissemination Limiting Markers. This data is not classified but is not intended for public release and may be sensitive.

Mr Kavanagh said that the ASD’s tick of approval is the product of about 12 months of work from an engineering, security assurance and audit perspective.

“The core of this is really from our perspective about making sure that our customers and our partners can really take advantage of the cloud and be assured that they’re only using certified services,” he said.

Microsoft, along with Amazon Web Services, were the first two major players to get into the CCSL. The list has since grown with Macquarie Telecom, Salesforce, IBM and TechnologyOne all added to the mix.

Meanwhile, Sliced Tech and Vault Systems have picked up the ‘Protected’ level of certification from the ASD in March this year. Google and SAP are two notable absentees from the list.

According to Mr Kavanagh, there isn’t a great deal of quantitative data on it, but our estimate is about 80 per cent of all data that’s used by public sector is in the unclassified space.

“It’s unclassified data but it does have markings, healthcare data is all unclassified but it does have a marking that it’s private information or highly sensitive private information.”

“You actually can address the vast majority of Australian government requirements with unclassified with these markings,” he said.

Mr Kavanagh added the certification will allow software developers and solution providers on the Azure platform to get their offerings into the public sector.

“I think there are two things happening in Canberra, one is there’s an urgency of action and every party sees that, secondly, I think there’s a realisation that cloud is actually a key enabler of better security and better resilience,” he said.

“That awareness might have existed elsewhere for some time and was part of our culture but in Canberra it has taken a little bit longer to sink in.”

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