A strong domestic Cloud computing sector will be an important component in the success of Australia’s Digital Economy, according to federal communications minister, Stephen Conroy.
Senator Conroy was speaking at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) Summit in Canberra, where he said that Australian businesses and governments need to back private sector investments by weighing out the benefits of Cloud computing.
“Our demand for data is increasing daily, and as a consequence the amount of data pouring into datacentres is rising exponentially,” he said.
Australia’s competence in responding to Cloud-driven growth was further highlighted in Asia’s first Cloud Readiness Index.
The index that was released last year, ranked Australia fourth out of 14 countries analysed. “We scored more than eight out of 10 for data protection policy, power grid quality, business efficiency and global risk,” Senator Conroy said.
However, the index scored Australia the lowest in broadband quality. The senator expects that the roll-out of the NBN will change that statistic.
He emphasised a number of Cloud computing initiatives that include the Digital Local Government Program that co-funds digital projects with local governments and the introduction of data.gov.au, which provides a data catalogue of government information.
However, with more people preferring to engage with the government online, Senator Conroy said there will be some ongoing challenges with Cloud computing.
He named privacy of consumers’ hosted information, security, cross-jurisdictional uncertainties and service level agreements and contractual terms and conditions as potential issues to be resolved. “What we know is that the demand for Cloud products and services will grow rapidly. Rising to the challenges of the surge in demand is something we need to do across government, industry and business,” Senator Conroy stated.
He will be working closely with a range of industry stakeholders, particularly the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) Cloud Taskforce, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Standards Australia, the ACCC, ACMA and the Cloud Information Community to further explore the issues.