The Role of Data Centres in the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Strategy

April 30 2021, by James Rabey | Category: Government

The federal government’s Digital Transformation Strategy is rightly focused on modernising government to improve customer service outcomes. However, the role of Macquarie Government’s data centres in Canberra and services including cloud, hosting and colocation cannot be underestimated for the success of the government’s digital transformation agenda.

The Digital Transformation Strategy contains three strategic priorities:

  1. A government that’s easy to deal with;
  2. that’s informed by you; and
  3. fit for the digital age.

There are 13 objectives under these three key priorities, and some are useful to illustrate the importance of data centre services to the government’s digital transformation strategy.

Colocation, hosting and cloud specialists to underpin priority 1.

Objectives under this priority aim for citizens to ‘access all government services digitally’, for those services to be ‘seamlessly integrated’, and accessed via a personal ‘digital identity’.

This is no mean feat as the challenges are significant. Many agencies have an array of IT systems and infrastructure, spanning legacy systems, colocation, private and public cloud environments. The numerous services agencies provide differ greatly, in terms of criticality (e.g., emergency services versus arts grants), the magnitude of workload peaks and troughs and the extent of interdependence with other systems, just to name a few.

To provide citizens with an always-on experience and a seamless transition between applications agencies will need crucial technical expertise which is unlikely to be available solely in-house.

Data centre providers in Canberra can complement in-house ICT staff with the technical resources needed to support the availability, cybersecurity, performance, scalability and integration requirements to meet the government’s digital strategy objectives.

Secure and sovereign data is crucial to the success of priority 2 objectives.

If priority 2 objectives of ‘earning citizen trust’ and ‘developing smart apps that adapt to the data citizens choose to share’ are to be realised, cybersecurity and data sovereignty will be paramount.

Internationally data privacy laws are strengthening and citizen expectations of digital services are increasing. In the Deloitte Australian Privacy Index 2019, 89% of consumers said they have denied application access to private data due to privacy concerns. This can significantly impair application effectiveness.

Under priority 2, for the government to be ‘strong custodians of your data collected and stored is must be secure and sovereign. Data sovereignty means the data entrusted to the government is within its jurisdictional control. Data cannot leak overseas or into foreign territories.

Cybersecurity measures and protocols will differ across government applications commensurate with the sensitivity of information conveyed within the app. With data centre providers offering varying sovereign, cyber and physical security capabilities, governments will rely on data centre providers’ cybersecurity certifications and capabilities to ensure adequate measures are in place to sufficiently safeguard citizen data.

How Macquarie’s latest Canberra Data Centre could be pivotal to strategic priority 3

The objectives under the third strategic priority seek to enable people to work efficiently together, reduce risk and provide value to people and businesses through managing costs and risks.
Acquiring hosting, colocation and cloud services from multiple data centre providers mitigates the risks of relying solely on one provider, and different pricing regimes and services mean better value can be obtained from the wider choice of offerings.

Data centres, both local and global providers offer a broad range of capabilities and services that will provide the foundation for the government’s digital transformation objectives.
For over 17 years Macquarie Government has provided hosting, colocation, cloud and cybersecurity services to the Australian government. With the recent launch of its latest Canberra data centre, Macquarie Government has bolstered its local infrastructure available to the Australian Government, and with over 200 government cleared colocations, cloud and cybersecurity specialists at the government’s disposal. Macquarie Government with its cybersecurity and data sovereignty capabilities is a key government partner to tackle the challenges implicit within the government’s Digital Transformation Strategy.