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The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) has kicked-off a technology transformation that will encompass the entire organization. To help drive the modernization, the intelligence agency wants to tap Microsoft’s Azure cloud services.

However, other cloud companies could be part of the transformation as ASIO is seeking “one or more” service providers. The organization is reported to want Microsoft Azure to drive the first phase of the project.

Microsoft Azure will be used across the protected, secret, and top-secret classifications.

Eventually, ASIO wants to develop integrated technologies across the organization and has published a request for expression of interest (EOI) on six packages.

“ASIO is undergoing a large-scale transformation in order to continue to succeed in a complex environment. The transformation affects all aspects of ASIO’s business including technology, data, people, capabilities, processes, and culture,” the EOI documents read.

“ASIO is pursuing technology platforms that are seamlessly connected, agile, sustainable, and scalable to support enterprise-wide capabilities.”

System integrated services will allow ASIO to “develop greenfield solutions and run the technology platform/s as part of an integrated team, leveraging their IT service delivery and management experience to implement ASIO’s vision”.

Among the developments ASIO wants is a new enterprise technology platform (ETP). This will serve as the backbone of the organization’s core data platform (CDP) allowing staff to access more data efficiently.

Using Azure, the ETP will be management across protected, secret, and top secret classified domains, each featuring a different Azure platform. For example, the top-secret platform will have either “components provided as a managed service or as a managed service in its entirety.”

Microsoft in Australia

Ironically, Microsoft’s apparent deal with ASIO comes just weeks after the company’s chief lawyer argued Australian laws are pushing tech companies away.

Microsoft president and chief lawyer Brad Smith has said governments and major companies will not want to store data in Australia’s anymore. Smith says the country’s new encryption legislation means organizations are “no longer comfortable”.

Last year, the Australian government passed new data encryption laws. Under the law, tech companies are mandated to give authorities access to their encrypted messages.