After months of drafting, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has released the Better Practice Guides under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) that cover Cloud-based services.
The guides are the result of AGIMO working with industry and agencies to produce guidelines to assist agencies on global financial, legal and privacy concerns they may encounter with the Cloud.
According to AGIMO policy and planning division first assistant secretary, Glenn Archer, public comment to the drafts of the guides released in November helped improve the content found in the final editions.
“The guides have been developed to reflect Australian Government FMA Act agencies’ responsibilities in the context of the Australian legislative and regulatory environment,” he said.
With issues swirling around the privacy and security of information in the public Cloud, Archer views the guides as a concrete step towards mitigating the impacts of these issues both domestically and internationally.
The Privacy and Cloud Computing for Australian Government Agencies document covers issues related to privacy and information security that an agency should be aware of when considering Cloud-based services.
The aim is that Cloud service providers will begin addressing applicable privacy obligations in their contract.
Those who deal regularly with IT contracts may already be aware of the typical legal issues that can be found in Cloud computing agreements, and the Negotiating the Cloud – Legal Issues in Cloud Computing Agreements document has been compiled to assist agencies when navigating contracts.
The third and final guide, Financial Considerations for Government use of Cloud Computing, covers important financial issues that agencies need to tackle when considering a Cloud solution.
Although these guides are already contributing to the Australian Government’s Cloud Framework, Archer points out that further guidance on other aspects of Cloud computing will be made available to agencies “as necessary.”
"This may include areas such as governance of community Clouds and further guidance on business management and procurement practices,” he said.