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July 2, 2019updated 29 Jun 2023 2:11pm

Australia Radically Restructures AWS Access for Government Agencies

“We worked with the ACSC to develop a solution that meets Australian government security requirements.”

By CBR Staff Writer

The Australian Government has struck a £21 million deal with Amazon that completely restructures access to AWS services across all government agencies.

In a three-year volume sourcing agreement, Australia’s Federal, State and Territory government agencies will be able to easily access AWS services under a simplified procurement process.

The arrangement is part of the Australian Government’s ICT coordinated procurement contracting framework initiatives. This includes a push to obtain better pricing through aggregating government purchasing

Previous procurement deals had limited terms and capabilities. A key issue was that the old procurement model used a fixed price list that often took weeks to update. The government found that the old model slowed down government technology procurement, especially for smaller agencies.

See also: IT Procurement: “Still the Wild West and It Favours the Vendors”

The Australian government Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) wrote: “The new agreement will give government agencies better value for money and increased flexibility when sourcing commonly used cloud and professional services from AWS. It will also facilitate capability uplift across government through coordinated access to AWS Enterprise Support and access to information sessions, led by the DTA.”

Included in the deal is the ability for government bodies to quickly seek out enterprise support and professional services. This includes professional training and guidance on troublesome IT projects.

Some Australian government departments have established working histories with AWS services such as the Taxation Office, National Science Agency and IP Australia. Under the old agreement all of these agencies had created separate contracts with Amazon for the use of its services.

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Australian MP and Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert commented in a release that: “Government agencies regularly engage AWS services, each with separate contracts. The new arrangement represents an opportunity to provide cost reductions through efficiencies of scale.”

“Over a number of years, aggregated procurement has allowed us to leverage the bulk-buying power of the government to negotiate consistent and improved terms and conditions.”

AWS Australia Deal Follows Cyber Approval

AWS Australia

The deal follows a ruling by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) last January which stated that AWS services are now certified to carry sensitive and classified government data.

The ‘Protected Certification’ was granted to 42 AWS cloud services. This certification is the highest data security ranking that the Australian government can grant to a cloud service provider.

Services now carrying the certification are available through AWS’ Asia-Pacific (Sydney) region and include cloud services such as storage, network, application integration, security, analytics and governance.

AWS Head of Security Assurance for Australia and New Zealand, Mathew Graham, wrote in an AWS release: “We worked with the ACSC to develop a solution that meets Australian government security requirements,” adding that “customers can take advantage of all the security benefits without paying a price premium, or needing to modify their existing applications or environments.”

James Staten, VP & Principal Analyst of Edge Compute Cloud-enabled Innovation at Forrester commented to Computer Busienss Review that: “It would be good to see other federal govts make similar moves because this makes it so much easier for agencies to see that they have permission to shift to these “as a service” capabilities and can easily make the case for data and service acceleration, modernization and secure sharing across govt agencies via these moves.”

“What this signals to the market (and to the citizenry) is that the Australian Govt is empowering govt agility which will help them raise up client and corporate engagements, more directly address customer needs and help Australian companies raise up citizen values via cloud services and cloud-based applications.”

“This will also likely make it easier and more cost affordable for Australian startups and other companies to more easily partner with govt agencies to drive up CX-led innovations. A similar cloud-empowered move across the govt in New Zealand has taken place led by their DIA.”

Many IT organisations in Australia believe that the new procurement model created between the government and AWS will make it easier for companies to supply services to government agencies via the AWS platform.

Liam O’Dubhir, Director of Australian software engineering firm 2pi Software commented that: “The streamlined procurement for government to build on AWS also makes it faster and easier for APN partners – the small and medium sized Australian businesses focused on offering technology solutions to agencies — to provide our software and consulting services to the Australian government.”

See Also: AWS Product Automatically Extracts Text, Tables, from Millions of Documents

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