AGIMO releases government Cloud guides

Privacy, financial and legal issues associated with government use of Cloud services canvassed

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has released draft Cloud Better Practice Guides to aid Federal Government agencies to make more informed decisions when procuring Cloud services.

Read more on government Cloud: Government Cloud: Fad or lofty ideal?

There are three guides in total: Privacy and Cloud Computing for Australian Government Agencies, Negotiating the Cloud – Legal Issues in Cloud Computing Agreements, and Financial Considerations for Government use of Cloud Computing.

The guides, which are open to comment by industry and agencies, follow the release in April of the Federal Government’s Cloud Computing Strategic Direction paper (PDF).

The privacy guide provides a checklist of issues related to privacy that an agency should investigate when considering moving to the Cloud and argues that Cloud computing has the potential to enhance privacy rather than reduce it.

“The privacy outcomes depend on how it is used. However, Cloud computing can pose privacy risks because of the potential for reduced control over the way that personal information is handled by a Cloud service provider or accessed by third parties,” the guide reads.

“Moving data into the Cloud means that, very often, it will be processed and stored outside of Australia. Different levels of control are possible depending on the Cloud service selected.”

Read more AGIMO-related news

The negotiating paper contains an overview of major legal issues related to the Cloud – such as the protection of information, liability, performance management, ending the arrangement, dispute resolution and other legal issues. Privacy and security implications of Cloud are also discussed.

The financial considerations guide canvasses topics such as financial issues related to procurement and contract negotiations, market analysis and competitiveness of the market, entry and exit fees associated with the contract and transitioning funding from capital budgets to operational (departmental) expenditure.

“One of the key financial issues facing agencies in adopting a Cloud solution is transitioning funding provided to the agency on the basis of capital expenditure to operational expenditure,” the guide advises.

“In terms of Cloud computing, agencies should seek guidance where it is proposed that funding provided for capital items (like servers and software) are to be transferred to operating items.”

Follow Tim Lohman on Twitter: @Tlohman

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