The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has become the first Federal Government agency to adopt the certified Microsoft Office 365.
Microsoft Australia was awarded the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) Protected certification in April, meaning the DTA will move its "day-to-day" operations onto Office 365 serving as a "proof point" to other agencies.
The agency has also conducted a pilot with 20 DTA staff, which was then extended to 40 users and expects the full roll out to be completed by the end of the year.
The Office 365 version used in the pilot was developed by Microsoft partner Delivery Quality Assurance (DQA).
According to DQA CTO and director of federal services Jean-Pierre Simonis, the solution being deployed at the DTA provides a template for other agencies that need to collaborate, communicate, and work on Protected documents and data from within a secure cloud environment.
“The solution that Delivery Quality Assurance has developed for the DTA demonstrates to other agencies how to establish a cloud based, Protected computing ecosystem that can support inter and intra department communication and collaboration and drive enterprise efficiency,” said George Stavrakakis, director of public sector at Microsoft Australia.
More than 200 DTA staff is expected to use the system.
"The change will result in improved functionality and productivity, eliminating the need for staff to jump between different systems, depending on the security classification of the work being conducted," added Michael Keenan, the minister assisting the Prime Minister for digital transformation.
"The old arrangements required staff to maintain two separate email accounts, as well as separate logins, passwords and calendars, which will no longer be necessary on the protected platform."
The DTA expects to benefit from cost reduction related to maintenance of traditional systems.
Office 365 will provide DTA personnel with access to Exchange Online, including SharePoint, Skype for Business and an array of Azure services including Azure Key Vault and Azure Active Directory.
Access to the platform will also be provided to staff from other agencies working with the DTA on transformational initiatives, for example, the Digital Identity program that is currently under development.
Sliced Tech and Vault Systems were the first Australian companies to achieve the Protected classification level for cloud providers from ASD Certified Cloud Services.
Macquarie Government — the government-focused business of the ASX-listed Macquarie Telecom Group — joined the ranks of cloud providers whose services are certified for use with classified government information in September 2017.