Partnerships between public authorities and industry are necessary to enable all companies to fully leverage cloud computing advantages and fulfil the European Commission’s vision of a cloud-based society.
The European Commission’s cloud computing strategy to increase the uptake of cloud services by European businesses will still be hampered by concerns about reliability and safety. That’s according to research analyst Jayashree Rajagopal at Frost & Sullivan, who says that the proposed partnership between public authorities and industry is needed to understand cloud procurement issues and create the necessary standards:
“The relative newness and underdevelopment of the cloud computing market is the primary reason that public sector organisations delay adoption.
Several high-profile service outages in 2011 — such as serious technical difficulties that struck Amazon Web Services and affected a public cloud that serves thousands of businesses — resulted in more reliability questions.”
The potential (and perceived) problems around data centres are leading companies to consider adopting either private cloud models or hybrid ones. But public sector organisations also face other challenges – a lack of international standards concerning cross border data transfer, definitions of privacy and confidentiality, data ownership, and service accountability. Compliance with government regulations also has to be considered.
Although data protection regulations have become stronger to suit the rapidly-changing ICT world, Rajagopal says cloud computing will only be accepted with a large-scale adoption. She believes the public sector can harness buying power and adopt coordinated IT approaches with a more integrated and harmonised cloud system. Once the system is in place, improved operational efficiency and user confidence and trust would help cloud providers offer standardised services to other organisations:
“Encouraging the adoption of cloud in the public sector is an essential step toward establishing a ‘cloud-active’ European Union. It would set the trend toward a cloud economy.”
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