Government organisations are required to use public cloud services in preference to traditional IT systems. They are required to adopt these services on a case by case basis, following risk assessments.
Guidance for government organisations using cloud-based tools during COVID-19
Public cloud services are ICT services used by multiple organisations from different industries, including public and private sectors.
Public cloud services are a mainstream technology choice for organisations that are digitally transforming themselves.
Many emerging technologies — such as blockchain, internet of things, artificial intelligence and data analytics — are now delivered as public cloud services.
New Zealand government requires agencies to accelerate their adoption of public cloud services — in a balanced way — so they can drive digital transformation. This includes:
- enhancing customer experiences
- streamlining operations
- creating new delivery models.
The move to accelerate adoption was endorsed by Cabinet in 2016.
The Cloud First policy requires government organisations to:
- adopt public cloud services in preference to traditional IT systems
- make adoption decisions on a case-by-case basis following a risk assessment
- only store data classified as RESTRICTED or below in a cloud service, whether it is hosted onshore or offshore.
Balancing risks and opportunities
The Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO) supports agencies to balance the opportunities and the risks in using public cloud services. We:
- provide guidance to help government organisations to develop cloud plans
- worked with security agencies to address key security, jurisdictional and social licence concerns
- are showcasing examples of early adopters using public cloud services to drive transformation.
- removed restrictions on the use of offshore productivity services and developed specific security and risk assessment guidance for these services.
Support is also in place for government organisations wanting to purchase and use public cloud services.
- There is a centre of excellence to network agency practitioners and encourage sharing and reuse of good practice.
- We have negotiated commercial agreements with cloud providers to enable government organisations to access their services with a single price book and standard terms and conditions.
- A marketplace to give government organisations access to a catalogue of public cloud services is in development.
Treaty obligations and Māori rights
Government organisations need to take into account Treaty obligations and Māori rights when considering the use of cloud-enabled tools.
To support this, the Government’s Chief Data Steward has published Ngā Tikanga Paihere, a guide to safe, responsible and culturally appropriate use of data:
- Key benefits to using public cloud services include:
- reducing costs — public cloud services have very large economies of scale
- increasing workforce mobility — cloud services can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection
- improving collaboration — people can work across teams, buildings and government networks more easily
- greater agility — new services can be established rapidly
- improved security — public cloud services from global providers are typically more secure than traditional IT systems
- greater resilience — using public cloud services means government organisations can better manage their risks, reducing the impact of any single event.