Microsoft cloud services have gained approval to host sensitive and protected data for the Australian government.
The technology giant is now the first hyperscale public cloud provider to obtain the ‘protected’ level certification from the Australian Signals Directorate. This certification gives the permission to agencies for hosting and protecting sensitive government data in Microsoft Office 365 and Azure.
The announcement of this approval was officially made by Angus Taylor, the Australian minister of cybersecurity. The statement also coincides with the launching of the technology giant’s two new global Azure regions, which was held in Canberra’s data centres – Fyshwick and Hume. Following the launch, the total number of Microsoft’s global Azure regions now sits at 50.
The technology giant now joins four other local providers of the cloud technology, including Vault Systems, Macquarie Telecom, Sliced Tech and Dimension Data. Together, the cloud providers will serve to host and handle sensitive data. Government data is classified into four security levels: unclassified, protected, secret, and top secret.
According to the minister, the approval certification awarded to Microsoft would serve to fast-track the adoption of cloud technology by the Australian government, which will help to improve cybersecurity for the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. He also added that following the innovation and transformation within critical government infrastructure, Australia is facing increasing cybersecurity risks, and that it has never been more important to find technology to effectively manage and remove the cyber threats.
The minister also explained that by awarding the certificate to Microsoft, the Malcolm Turnbull government has showed its commitment to enhancing the level of security for all Australians, via the prioritising and delivery of modern and safe cloud technology. This is always why the Australian government opens its arms to the investment of Microsoft in the Australian public sector, which also involves an initiative to provide cloud technology skills to an extra 5,000 employees by the year 2020.
Microsoft has been reported to have been eyeing major Australian government contracts for some time. The addition of two new global Azure regions in Australia, which was announced in August 2017, was a strategic move by the technology giant to attract Australian government agencies towards their secure cloud services. The investment also helped the bidding process for public sector jobs by Microsoft’s partners.
According to James Kavanagh, engineering lead of Microsoft Azure Australia, since the company’s launch of its first ever cloud service from an Australian data centre, the team has strived to provide innovation to their partners and customers, including tackling extremely complicated and tedious compliance issues. He added the Azure Australia team has worked hard to reduce the workload of customers and partners in the process of moving to the cloud, thus fast-tracking the adoption of innovative cloud technology.
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