Microsoft has today taken two big steps towards providing the infrastructure government needs to accelerate its digital transformation efforts. The IT giant has switched on two new Microsoft Azure cloud regions in Canberra and has been given the green light to store data classified as protected.

Microsoft is the first hyperscale public cloud provider to achieve Certification for Protected data in Australia, dramatically accelerating the opportunity for all levels of government to embrace cloud computing, the company said.

Earlier today the Microsoft announced the opening of two new Azure regions, known as Azure Australia Central, which are located within highly secure, resilient Australian-owned facilities of Canberra Data Centres. These regions are specifically designed to support mission-critical demands of government and critical national infrastructure.

The moves will accelerate the ability for Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to adopt cloud and government agencies will be able to host higher classification data sets in Microsoft cloud services like Azure and Office 365.

The news follows last week’s announcement that Microsoft Australia has launched an initiative to deliver critical cloud computing skills to 5,000 public sector workers by 2020.

Being granted the Protected Certification by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), for inclusion in the Certified Cloud Services List (CCSL) is a milestone Microsoft has been working towards since 2014 when it Azure regions in Sydney and Melbourne.

Steven Worrall, managing director, Microsoft Australia was delighted that Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365 are the first global public cloud services to achieve Protected level certification in this country.

“This injects new opportunities for public sector innovation, transformation and service agility thanks to the range of sophisticated Azure services already available and certified. Office 365 will support the Australian government’s ambitions to streamline government processes and digitally transform public sector workplaces. At the same time agencies can avail themselves of the mature and open ecosystem of partners and developers who build on the Azure cloud,” he said.

As well as government, the new Azure regions will provide services for critical national infrastructure clients including banks, utilities, telecommunications, healthcare and transport. The regions provide high availability and disaster resilience, within country and distributed across multiple metropolitan regions with no compromise on data sovereignty.

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