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Telecommunications and data centers recognized as critical national infrastructure

Telecommunications and data centers recognized as critical national infrastructure

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Macquarie Telecom Group, an Australian telecommunications company, has welcomed an amendment to a government bill that recognizes telecommunications and data centers as critical national infrastructure for the first time.

The publication of the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill, introduced to Parliament by Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon. Peter Dutton MP, recognises the importance of the sectors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and sudden lockdowns have highlighted the economy’s dependence on telecommunications and data services, and Australians’ expectation that these services will be accessible even in the worst of circumstances,” said David Tudehope, CEO, Macquarie Telecom Group.

“But the lockdowns also highlighted that these industries were not actually officially recognized as being essential or critical to the functioning of society.

“This new legislation will rectify this as it recognizes the infrastructure that enables our digital economy to function as critical infrastructure that needs to be secured from all hazards just as our water, energy and other vital national assets are.”

Macquarie believes the legislation will help ensure the resilience and security of Australia’s digital and physical infrastructure in the face of growing risks. The company believes this is a shared responsibility, with government providing the leadership and intel needed to guide critical infrastructure owners and operators.

“As a provider of cloud, data center and telecommunications services to governments and businesses, we understand the risks to data security and networks,” said Mr Tudehope.

“These risks are significant and underscore the importance of a comprehensive approach to national security. Securing government and critical business data involves more than just protecting the physical infrastructure from unauthorized access. It requires stringent compliance with internationally recognized standards and the application of best-in-class technology and operational frameworks.”

While welcoming the new framework, Macquarie believes that the new security expectations in relation to critical business data should apply more generally across all critical infrastructure sectors.

“A critical infrastructure operator’s data should be treated as a critical asset regardless of whether it is kept inhouse, hosted by a third-party cloud or data center, or located offshore. It should be subject to the same security expectations and standards regardless of who is storing it or where it is located.” added Mr Tudehope.

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