Government eases into cloud with caution

Last updated 05:00 31/08/2012

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The Government will encourage its own agencies to access software hosted in the "cloud" in New Zealand but is eschewing overseas-based cloud services such as Google Apps for now.

The approach, revealed in a Cabinet paper issued yesterday, is likely to be positive for Microsoft, which is working with New Zealand partners to provide locally hosted online software.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain said all agencies would be expected to take a "cloud first" approach to buying software.

The Internal Affairs Department would issue a tender for "onshore-hosted cloud-based office productivity services" such as word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, he said.

Cloud computing let organisations access software on a "pay-per-use" basis without having to invest in the underlying hardware and software that delivered those services, he said. It made it easier for agencies to ensure they were using software that was up to date.

Tremain told BusinessDay earlier this month that bigger savings could be made by using cloud-based software hosted overseas.

But Tremain said the Government had decided to take a "conservative approach" until it better understood and could better manage the security risks.

Tremain said Internal Affairs would work with the National Cyber Policy Office and the Government Communications and Security Bureau to develop guidelines for "offshoring government data" by the end of the year.

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