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2 August  2022: The Australian Government will formally collaborate with the United States to start launching projects that will promote each country’s climate targets and reduce emissions. The US-Australia Net Zero Technology Acceleration Partnership will focus on long term energy storage technology, digital electricity grids, carbon dioxide reduction, plastics research, and renewable energy. Australia possesses large amounts of mineral reserves such as nickel, cobalt and lithium, which are essential resources used in zero emissions technology.

Why it’s Important

Government initiatives that promote zero net technology have a strong influence in private organisations operational practices. For instance, the intention in demonstrating that Cloud savings have occurred is to rationalise the need for a process of migration and change. Enterprises, however, must learn to realise the purported savings similar to how government agencies and the education sector are doing, by following common requirements when they share many services. 

IBRS explored the tangible costs associated with migrating to the Cloud, with both IaaS and SaaS journeys investigated in the 'IBRS Cloud Migration Case Study' advisory. The report is aimed at policymakers and strategists looking at the macroeconomic impact of technology, it also details the costs and benefits of Cloud adoption by industry sectors, providing IT strategists with realistic benchmarks. 

Who’s impacted

  • CEO
  • Procurement teams
  • IT teams

What’s Next?

For users of Cloud (and other IT services), it is necessary to examine any proposals to check their validity. Ask vendors to understand how their offers work because in most, if not all cases, what they propose in terms of savings through clean energy may not fit your enterprise requirements.

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2 August 2022: Deakin University announced a data breach and exposed personally identifiable information (PII), which includes names, mobile numbers and email addresses of almost 47,000 current and past students after tracing an intrusion from a hacked account of one of the institution’s staff members. Following this breach, almost 10,000 students also received spam text messages that asked for their credit card information to process customs fees on a package. This type of mobile spear phishing attack is known as ‘smishing’.  The university, however, has claimed that it has already put an end to the attack from reaching more students and alumni.

Why it’s Important

The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report revealed that the education and training sector is among the top areas that have experienced cyber security incidents in 2020-2021. Some of the most notable data breaches in recent years include:

  • Australian National University’s spear phishing attack that stole sensitive information dating as far as 19 years from more than 200,000 students in 2019.
  • In 2021 Swinburne University of Technology confirmed that personal information of its 5,200 staff and 100 students were exposed after hackers infiltrated an event registration information webpage of the university.
  • More than 50,000 Australian students who have installed the Get app (formerly known as Qnect) that facilitates payments, have exposed their personal information after a Reddit user discovered their names, email addresses, birthdates and Facebook IDs online.

Deakin University’s case is a lesson on ensuring that a cyber security response plan is constantly reviewed to generate a quick, comprehensive response at the enterprise level with a sense of urgency. It should also reflect accountability and promote clear communication to their stakeholders. While cyber incidents never evolve according to plan, having no plan creates additional duress for decision makers in the organisation, possibly lowering the quality of their decision making.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Security teams
  • IT teams

What’s Next?

  • Begin a campaign to educate all staff on the importance of data protection to the organisation.
  • Conduct a post-implementation review of your incident response plan (IRP) as soon as possible while the memories of what worked and what can be done better are in the minds of all participants.

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19 July 2022:  The New South Wales Government has named five more Cloud service providers to its Cloud purchasing arrangements (CPA) panel. These include AUCloud, Network Synergy, Rackspace, Sliced Tech and Tata Consultancy Services, which brings the total number of panellists to 17. The CPA panel was established in mid 2020 to accredit vendors in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) industries to better manage procurement and supply chain.

Why it’s Important

Vendors that meet public agencies’ regulatory compliance means that their services strictly observe critical best practices in multiple areas of procedures, policies and designs. In the case of NSW’s CAP contract, it requires vendors to provide value-adds, and agile and streamlined procurement of services. 

Since it is more difficult to obtain government accreditation owing to practices that need to be demonstrated to conform to stringent standards, this also benefits other private organisations looking for Cloud services that offer reliability and security.

Who’s impacted

  • CISO
  • Security teams
  • ICT strategy leads
  • Infrastructure architects

What’s Next?

Public sector organisations may need to consider government panel accreditation when selecting Cloud vendors: it makes procurement simpler and faster. However, rather than demanding accreditation as a blanket requirement, it should be considered on an as-needed basis. Some Cloud projects, especially those relating to R&D and ‘skunk works’ may be kept under discretionary spending limits, and thus offer greater flexibility in vendors. In these cases, longer-term procurement considerations must be factored.

In all cases, Cloud procurement should be supported by a robust Cloud cost management strategy. Because it is easier and faster to acquire Cloud resources from a panel, it is important to detect, monitor and govern Cloud resource costs closely, and via a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CoE).

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19 July 2022: Amazon launched its machine learning (ML)-powered code generator, CodeWhisperer, that speeds up development work by offering recommendations based on comments in natural language and in an integrated development environment (IDE). The platform is available in a number of programming languages, including Java, JavaScript, and Python, and integrates with multiple IDEs, including JetBrains (IntelliJ, PyCharm, and WebStorm), Visual Studio Code, AWS Cloud9, and the AWS Lambda console. 

Why it’s Important

The rise in the number of AI-powered coding assistants such as GitHub Copilot, Tabnine, AlphaCode by DeepMind and Project CodeNet by IBM is a promising development for users who want to save time and raise their productivity by streamlining their work through ML-powered solutions.

However, these solutions can only work well if it is trained on billions of lines of code to generate near accurate predictive results. Amazon, for instance, claims that its solution is based on open source repositories, API documentation and public forums in particular, to generate code snippets for a specific task, including integrating from the Cloud or a particular library.

But while the growth of automated programming assistance tools can benefit developers who want to cut down on time-consuming tasks, enterprises must remain vigilant about the quality of codes being generated and the tool’s integration with various infrastructures. It is also widely known that inferior codes can be offered no matter how extensive the training sources may be.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Developers
  • IT teams

What’s Next?

  • Identify the organisation’s existing workflow tools and low-code platforms.
  • Ensure that the platforms being used by the organisation provide visibility and sufficient capabilities to take developers' efforts and expand upon them.