Cloud computing strategic decision paper - Opportunities and applicability for use by the Australian Government

28 September 2011

This paper outlines the Australian government's cloud computing initiative,  the challenges and the benefits of its introduction.


The rapid growth in the availability of cloud services and high speed broadband connectivity,such as provided by the National Broadband Network (NBN), present opportunities and challenges to all levels of government in Australia in delivering services to individuals and industry.  

“Cloud computing is a new way of delivering computing resources, not a new technology.”

The Australian Government Cloud Computing Strategic Direction paper describes the wholeof-government policy position on cloud computing.  In summary, this policy states that:agencies may choose cloud-based services where they demonstrate value for money and adequate security.

This paper provides guidance for agencies about what cloud computing is and some of the issues and benefits that agencies need to understand.  

The paper recognises that the public cloud is still evolving, particularly in areas such as security and privacy. These issues need to be adequately resolved before critical government services can be transitioned to the cloud.  As a result, the paper outlines three concurrent streams of work:  


  • Stream One – provides agencies with guidance and documentation. 
  • Stream Two – encourages agencies to adopt public cloud services for public facing “unclassified” government services and to undertake proof of concept studies to fully understand the risks of the cloud environment.  
  • Stream Three – encourages a strategic approach to cloud.   This work is dependent upon greater clarity around projects commissioned under the Data Centre Strategy.