Today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is delighted to share we have achieved Strategic Hosting Provider certification under the Australian Government’s Hosting Certification Framework (HCF), which means government agencies can continue to innovate at a rapid pace and be confident that AWS meets the Government’s requirements to support the secure management of government systems and data.

AWS is highly sensitive to the security needs of our customers in every location in which we operate. We know how important it is to Australian Government customers to mitigate risks in supply chains and data centres, and we understand that agencies need to identify and source technology from providers they trust. AWS’s certification as a Strategic Hosting provider reinforces our ongoing commitment to meet the highest standards of digital security and means Australian citizens now have even greater confidence that the Government is securing their data.

Continuing to meet the highest security standards

AWS customers own their data, control its location, and who has access to it. AWS provides world-class infrastructure to customers in Australia, including local data centres to enable a full range of security protections, tools, and services. In 2012, we opened our first Australian AWS Region in Sydney, which delivers onshore data centre infrastructure for Australian customers. Every month, our local infrastructure is used by hundreds of thousands of active customers, many of which trust us with highly sensitive and secure workloads. These include large public sector organisations such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), along with Australia’s leading companies such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the National Bank of Australia (NAB), nib insurance, Origin Energy, Telstra, Qantas, and Woodside Energy.

As of July 2021, 112 AWS Cloud services available in the AWS Sydney Region have been assessed at ISM PROTECTED data classification, the highest Australian Government data classification attainable for public cloud services. In addition, AWS supports more security standards and compliance certifications than any other offering, and provide services to millions of active customers around the world including financial services providers, healthcare providers, and government agencies, who trust us to secure and protect their most sensitive information. We prohibit, and our systems are designed to prevent, remote access by AWS personnel to customer data for any purpose, including service maintenance, unless requested by a customer, required to prevent fraud and abuse, or to comply with the law.

Through our shared responsibility model, AWS takes on the security of the cloud – we develop, deploy, and maintain the infrastructure that supports digital service development. Customers manage the security of their own applications and data, ensuring security in the cloud. AWS supports our customers with training, tools, and best practices so that they can better manage their own responsibilities to maintain the highest levels of security. This means that even when working with certified HCF suppliers, customers must still take steps to mitigate unauthorised access through encryption, and cyber deception defence. We also encourage customers to deploy proactive services to not just detect unusual behaviour but immediately deploy mitigating actions, which are ready-to-use on AWS. Tools like Amazon GuardDuty, AWS Shield, and AWS Audit Manager enable customers to detect in real-time, mitigate, and verify their security posture.

On-the-ground resources to support customers

We understand the demands of delivering essential government services and have a dedicated AWS Public Sector team of local employees on-the-ground working to drive innovation on behalf of our customers and partners. AWS offers customers, including the Australian Government, 24x7 technical support from highly-skilled engineers who provide consultative architectural guidance. We provide Technical Account Managers and Cloud Support Engineers in Australia who deliver specialised advice for mission critical workloads by coordinating access to subject matter experts, assisting with support case management, and presenting insights and recommendations on workload optimisation.

The team is part of Amazon’s Australian local workforce of more than 3,500 people based across Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Melbourne, with 1,000 employees joining in the past year alone. These roles include high value jobs such as machine learning scientists, customer account managers, solutions architects, technical account managers, cloud support engineers, and data centre operators.

Driving local economic growth with our partner community

Improving cybersecurity capabilities can help Australian organisations to better calculate residual risk, respond quickly to threats, and accelerate their move to the cloud. However, cybersecurity often demands considerable time and resources which is a big task for any organisation. To provide additional support, we created the AWS Partner Network that includes locally-owned cloud software and service vendors who build solutions and services for AWS customers. Many Australian-owned small-medium businesses within the AWS Partner Network are working closely with Australian public sector customers, including federal and state government agencies as well as other highly-regulated organisations such as financial services entities to manage cybersecurity.

This includes Australian cloud consulting firm, Versent that now employs more than 400 staff since its launch in 2014, and invests heavily in automation that helps security tools and protocols to be implemented quickly and safely. Sydney-based CMD is focused on uplifting the capability of its people through cloud training initiatives for employees which teach them the AWS specifics from security, migration, and machine learning and has certified more than 200 employees on AWS. Canberra-based cybersecurity and data analytics company Cynterra has been contracted to provide the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) with its Secure Internet Gateway (SIG) solution which runs on Cynterra’s IRAP-assessed secure cloud platform, leveraging AWS. These are examples of organisations that are playing a critical role in supporting agencies across Australia to operate securely in the cloud. The breadth and depth of our security services means AWS Partners are able to easily build secure solutions for their customers to free up the customers’ resources and help them to focus on driving growth and innovation to fuel the Australian economy.

We’re committed to Australia for the long-term

In the past decade, Amazon including AWS has invested more than AUD $3 billion in local infrastructure and jobs across Australia. In 2020, we announced that we had commenced construction of a second AWS Region in Melbourne, which will open in the second half of 2022. The new AWS Region will offer Australian customers a second on-shore option when choosing where their data and workloads are hosted. This means they can run full primary and secondary sites that are geographically separated but still within Australia’s borders.

And, we are working with organisations across Australia to address the nation’s digital skills shortage. We are supporting workforces with digital education, training, and support, and we have already trained hundreds of thousands of Australians with digital skills. Some of our efforts include the AWS She Builds program, which encourages and supports women in technology, and the AWS re/Start program that aims to bring digital skills to people who are unemployed, underemployed, or transitioning to a new stage in their life.

These initiatives and investments represent AWS’s deep long-term commitment to Australia and our strong understanding of what is important to our customers. By building world-leading infrastructure and human capability on Australian shores, we will continue to support our nation’s ongoing digital transformation, and help to boost economic prosperity.

You can learn more about how organisations are keeping their data secure and meeting their local compliance standards across Australia and New Zealand on the AWS Security and Privacy Knowledge Hub.