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'Absolute garbage': Comm Bank CIO dismisses security, data sovereignty as cloud barriers

Commonwealth Bank CIO Michael Harte today told participants at a Sydney event organised by Amazon.com's cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS), that data sovereignty and security have been used as unjustified excuses to stop businesses moving to the cloud.

"The favourite [excuses] I used to hear when I talked to the big household names in infrastructure equipment was, 'It doesn't look very secure Michael. You can't do that. And there's data sovereignty; you'd want to look very, very carefully at that. And this on-demand pricing -- no we just can't do that we've got rules saying specifically we can't."

Harte condemned the excuses as "absolute garbage".

CBA has shifted a dozen on-premise applications to the cloud, Harte told the audience at AWS's Customer Appreciation Day event. "The operational cost reduction is huge," he said.

"We've halved storage costs, we've halved most of our app testing and development cost. We've got a wide range of technology functions as a service. We've got application development, testing, infrastructure, software and storage."

Harte said the bank was looking for a "40 per cent improvement in pricing across all the things that we consume as a service".

"We've saved already tens of millions of dollars in the small initiatives that we've done. And we're looking forward to saving hundreds of millions of dollars buying specified services on demand."

Beyond costs, Harte said the benefit of cloud was in changing the relationship of IT with business partners within an enterprise -- "the happiness that you can get from your business partners because you're delivering services up on demand within minutes or within days rather than within days, months, weeks, that it normally took."

Harte said that Australian businesses haven't moved fast enough to embrace cloud and urged the audience to "get in front of the executive committees of your business and talk to them about the ways we can free up spending and make IT a valued partner".


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