Picking up where we left off on the cloud commission’s policy recommendations to the federal government to encourage migration to cloud computing, the remaining topics in the report were privacy, standardization and disclosure, and incentives for change.
The globalization of business and trade and the ability to operate cloud-based services in any location around the world have led to an exploding volume of data sources and stakeholders and a constant flow of data within and outside of our national borders. The U.S. government and industry should promote a comprehensive, technology-neutral privacy framework - one that is consistent with commonly accepted privacy and data protection principles such as the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] principles and/or APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] privacy frameworks. The U.S. government should also demonstrate leadership in identifying and implementing mechanisms for lawful access by law enforcement or government to data stored in the cloud. The idea is to enable the collection of information from the cloud to meet forensic or e-discovery requirements in a way that fully supports the legal due process while minimizing the impact on cloud provider operations. This will also help other countries trust cloud computing environments in the U.S, for appropriate workloads.
Standardization and Disclosure
One of the primary reasons Federal agencies and companies do not move to the cloud is because there is uncertainty about how systems that are not in their possession will perform and there is also the fear of being unable to access or move their data. Cloud providers should publicly disclose information on how their cloud services operate, including security, certifications, portability, interoperability, performance and reliability. And they should enable these features via agreed-upon industry standards and best practices.
Incentives for change
The transition to cloud computing requires changes in technology, policies, and people. Agencies should demonstrate flexibility in adapting existing procurement models to facilitate acquisition of cloud services and solutions. Both the U.S. Government and industry should embrace the modernization of broadband infrastructure and the current move to IPv6 to improve the bandwidth and reliable connectivity necessary for the growth of cloud services. These two entities along with academia should also develop and disseminate resources for major stakeholder communities to be educated on the technical, business, and policy issues around acquisition, deployment and operation of cloud services. Education and training programs should support all of these transitions.
Cloud computing has effected vast improvements in the cost, agility and efficiency of computing. These benefits alone drive a strong business case; however, the more compelling return is the opportunity to leap forward; to discover new markets and improve how we interact with users here and abroad. It is the hope of this Commission that the federal government, industry and academia will implement these recommendations and lead in the adoption of the cloud. You can find the report in its entirety at http://www.techamericafoundation.org/cloud-commission.
As a vote of confidence and as evidence of success in developing this report, the TechAmerica Foundation has been asked to conduct a similar commission for recommendations to state and local governments in the U.S. to optimize and advance their use of cloud computing. The commission has set up five working groups to study technology, business, implementation, acquisition and other issues unique to the needs of state and local governments’ transition to cloud computing. Stay tuned for their report in early 2012.