What makes a government cloud?

May 11 2021, by James Rabey | Category: Government
Government Cloud | Canberra Data Centres

Since the release of the National Strategy for Cloud Computing in 2013, the Australian Government has continued its trajectory of cloud adoption for the significant benefits cloud offers – greater flexibility, agility, operational efficiencies, scalability, data security and cost reduction. But what makes a government cloud, and why is the technology so important to the Australian Government?

Cloud – back to basics.

Put simply, cloud computing is the use of computer services via the internet to store, access and process data. With cloud computing there are three deployment models, and three service models.

When governments deploy ICT infrastructure or procure dedicated cloud services for their own use, that’s called private cloud. When data centre providers offer cloud services on infrastructure that’s shared by a number of customers, that’s public cloud, and when governments use a mix of private and public that’s hybrid cloud.

Our Canberra data centres offer three main service models – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

IaaS provides system administrators with the greatest amount of control at the foundation level of the IT stack with management access to virtualised compute, storage and networking resources.

PaaS frees software developers from managing these underlying resources, and provides a platform and tools for the building, testing and deployment of applications.

SaaS provides users with access to online applications only, with the underlying runtime environment, middleware, operating systems, compute and storage resources managed by the SaaS provider.

Government cloud and online services.

While both the private and public sectors are consuming greater cloud services from data centre providers, governments’ cloud requirements are markedly different.
The Australian Government provides a diverse range of online services spanning arts grants to passport and licence services, geospatial data, pesticides and veterinarian medicines, weather and social services.

The government must also manage legacy infrastructure and systems that are crucial to current services, and may be challenging to migrate to the cloud.

Hosting and colocation are essential.

The Australian Government consumes colocation and hosting services offered by Australian data centres to fulfil their strategic or architectural objectives. Colocation is when the government owns and manages the infrastructure, but it’s located in a data centre provider’s facility. Hosting is when the data centre provider owns the infrastructure, but it’s managed by government staff.

Our tailored Canberra data centre solutions is encompassing cloud, colocation and hosting services are often needed to effectively support the government’s online service ambitions.

But it’s not just flexibility and diverse services that are required; the Australian Government requires data centre services that provide the highest security, reliability and data sovereignty.

The Australian government collects and manages highly sensitive information relating to national security, international trade and the personal information of millions of Australians. Data centre providers to government must ensure the highest levels of cyber-security and physical security at their facilities.

Many government online services are of critical importance (e.g.: emergency services, energy market operator services) so the reliability of the cloud services that underpin these online services must provide high availability and fault tolerance.

Data sovereignty crucial for online success. Our Canberra Data Centres is built for government.

To effectively manage sensitive and critical information the government must maintain sovereign control over where the information is held, and who has access – if data centre staff have access to sensitive data and yet reside overseas the government’s control over the information is compromised.

Fortunately for the Australian Government, Macquarie has expanded its data centre facilities with a new Canberra data centre that was built specifically for government and offers high physical and cyber-security capabilities for data that has a sensitivity to a secret level and higher.

Our cloud, hosting and colocation services are supported locally by 150+ NV-1 cleared engineers so data sovereignty is preserved. It’s no wonder 42% of Australian Government agencies choose Macquarie Government to support online services that are used daily by countless Australians.