Tom Keane, the Head of Global Infrastructure at Microsoft Azure, announced last week that Microsoft has made its Azure program available to governments and critical national infrastructure, such as banks, utilities, transport and telecommunications in the Australia and New Zealand, making it the first company to provide the region with cloud services specifically geared toward government entities.
Microsoft is implementing the program through Canberra Data Centres, who already provide computing foundations to 40 Government departments and agencies in Australia. By partnering with CDC, Microsoft ensures that users will be able to easily transition from their existing infrastructure to the new cloud program, as their existing CDC applications will be directly connected to Microsoft’s global network via Azure ExpressRoute.
CDC’s facilities are already set up to handle highly sensitive data, and Greg Boorer, CEO, claims that this partnership with Microsoft will allow citizens easier, more efficient access to government services while not compromising the protection of sensitive information. “[CDC] is a dynamic ecosystem and now we have got Microsoft as a hyperscale cloud provider Government has complete flexibility,” he says. “Agencies can do some things themselves and procure cloud services, all with low latency and no additional cost for telecommunications or security.”
While most providers are only located in one Australian city, Microsoft will be offering Azure’s services directly from Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra, with connectivity to a number of other major cities. Azure has already been transforming the way the Australian government functions, with the Victorian Supreme Court using the technology to connect all 34 courtrooms and make the process of justice quicker and more efficient. The Department of Human Services has already begun its relationship with Azure, “exploring how intelligent Azure cloud services and bot technologies can support employees and ultimately expand consumer engagement channels.”
Microsoft has been rapidly expanding Azure’s reach over the last few years and the program has been implemented in two new American and one French region just this year. Plans to reach Switzerland, Germany, and the United Arab Emirates are not far off.