The South Australian government has adopted a strict stance against hosting public sector information in offshore data centre facilities, as it takes its first steps towards a whole-of-government cloud panel.
The state expects to start taking applications for the pre-approved data centre scheme before the end of March, and has made clear that providers using offshore facilities need not apply.
“The state’s data must be at all times hosted from a pre-approved hosting facility from within Australia only. This includes any back-up hosting facilities,” the government outlined in its industry fact sheet.
The approach to market provides the strongest hint to date about the stance the government will take on cloud computing.
Local industry members and agencies continue to wait for a long-overdue cloud policy, which public sector minister Susan Close promised was coming “very soon” back in July 2014.
The debate over government use of offshore data storage has already swept through other Australian jurisdictions. The federal government last year softened its policy and shifted authority to make risk assessments of overseas cloud options to individual agencies.
South Australia has been hesitant to jump too enthusiastically into the cloud hype cycle.
It has opted to refer to its proposed scheme as a ‘hosting services panel’ which includes “the current market offerings often described as ‘cloud services’ where agencies may acquire services based on infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service or software-as-a-service”.
More traditional floor-space leasing arrangements inside approved data centres will also be included.
The office of the SA CIO, working in conjunction with the transport and infrastructure department, has also flagged its intention to refresh the panel’s membership annually until the the scheme expires in 2021.