On 10 August 2021, The Australian Bureau of Statistics held the Census of Population and Housing, which is held every five years. The census collects data from approximately 10 million households and over 25 million people. The data helps the government and businesses to make decisions. The ABS decided to run the census primarily online this year.
Census in the cloud
For the 2021 Census, ABS engaged PwC Australia to create a robust Census Digital Service, hosted on Amazon Web Services. The 2021 Census was the first time it has been run on the cloud. During the census, AWS was able to handle the web traffic generated by millions of users.
The PwC solution built on AWS allowing ABS to automatically scale up the website as the demand increased and managed to deliver a fast and consistent experience. It was tested for extreme user demand at more than 2,000 times the expected peak workload and was able to manage the traffic. On the census day, the ABS received approximately 142 online submissions per second and a peak of 249 logins per second.
Cybercriminals are attracted
AWS also stated that they implemented stringent security measures, including independent security and compliance assessment against the Australian Government’s Information Security Manual, through an Information Security Registered Assessors Program assessment. It is another fact that, the Census also attracted cybercriminals.
During the census, AWS, PwC, and the ABS blocked traffic from over 130,000 malicious IP addresses. The following day, the Australian Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar stated that there were no interruptions, excessive wait times, or security issues.