OzTech: First AWS local zones in ANZ; Grants for connectivity projects; Ransomware advisory; CBA opens tech hub in Adelaide

OzTech Roundup is Computerworld Australia’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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AWS announces first 3 local cloud zones in ANZ

Amazon Web Services has announced plans for the first local cloud zones in Australia and New Zealand, to be located in Auckland, Brisbane, and Perth. These will complement the existing Sydney cloud region, the upcoming Melbourne cloud region, and edge cloud locations in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth.

AWS describes its local cloud zones as a type of infrastructure deployment that places AWS compute, storage, database, and other services at the edge of the cloud near large population, industry, and IT centres.

AWS’s upcoming cloud region in Melbourne was announced in December 2020, with plans for it to be up and running in the second half of 2022. Google Cloud, which announced its Melbourne region in March 2020, began operations in August 2021, four years after the company opened its first Australian region in Sydney.

NSW awards grants for three connectivity projects

The New South Wales government has announced the three organisations that will take part of the first phase of the small business innovation and research (SBIR) program under the connectivity challenge.

Phase 1 consists of a feasibility study. Organisations will get $100,000 to conduct the study over three months. The connectivity challenge’s goal is to increase the strength and resilience of communications networks in regional and remote areas. The three recipients are:

  • Zetifi will undertake a feasibility study to assess the feasibility of ZetiNet Connectivity Platform, a distributed network of off-grid small cells that can be rapidly deployed on existing power poles or as standalone pods to provide resilient long-range Wi-Fi and radio communications.
  • Innovations for Humanity will undertake a feasibility study to develop a high-performance satellite terminal antenna system prototype which has the potential to be powered without the grid using sustainable power sources.
  • Dandelions will undertake a feasibility study to develop an unpowered air-to-ground vehicle integrated with a communications payload to provide on-demand communication networks in emergency situations.

Advisory on ransomware

Australia, through the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the US, and the UK, have released an advisory on ransomware attacks and trends that have had an impact both in Australia and globally, including on critical infrastructure. The paper provides guidance for organisations and individuals to strengthen their defences against these critical ransomware threats.

The ACSC observed continued ransomware targeting Australian critical infrastructure entities, including in the healthcare and medical, financial services and markets, higher education and research, and energy sectors. 

Commonwealth Bank opens tech hub in Adelaide

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has announced a technology hub in Adelaide’s central business district, also known as Lot 14. CBA plans to hire as many as 150 technology specialists in five years through its graduate, intern, and technology associates’ program and through reskilling opportunities.

The bank’s hub will focus on artificial intelligence, data, and cybersecurity.

The district has already attracted international vendors such as Cognizant, which promised to create 1,600 technology jobs. The area is backed by federal and state governments’ investments of about $750 million to help create new technology hubs outside of Sydney and Melbourne.

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