Steps taken to safeguard personal data in the cloud

The Australian government is taking steps to ensure personal information is securely stored in the cloud.

Announcing a new policy for the use of cloud computing, attorney general Mark Dreyfus and minister assisting for the digital economy Kate Lundy emphasised the need for privacy protection.

Mr Dreyfus stressed that people expect their information to be treated with the greatest care by all organisations – but by their government in particular.

Under the new plans, the ministers responsible for information and privacy must give approval before any personal information can be stored in the cloud.

Mr Dreyfus believes this will make sure that all measures have been taken to mitigate any of the potential risks that face the security of this data.

He continued: "Government is trusted to hold a great deal of information on citizens and business and it is expected that this information is protected.

"As much of our work is online, and technology is constantly evolving, we must regularly ensure we are continuing to meet our obligations in protecting the information given to us."

Any information that does not require privacy protection can be stored and processed in outsourced and offshore arrangements, but only once an agency-level risk assessment has been carried out.

Data that is eligible to be stored and processed in outsourced and offshore arrangements can only be moved once suitable approvals have been put in place.

The expertise of those in ethical hacking might be needed to test how effective these safeguards are.

Mr Dreyfus emphasised that cloud computing is perfectly placed to change how the country consumes and uses digital technology.

The name of this new policy is: the Australian government Policy and risk management guidelines for the processing and storage of Australian government information in outsourced or offshore ICT arrangements.

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