Indian Government formulating policy framework for Cloud Computing

In the last few months we have spoken at length about cloud computing, its benefits, concerns and framework issues – the technology lacks legal framework, companies are sceptical to implement it and adoption rate is low. While global figures are soaring with Japan and Australia topping the charts in cloud adoption, India ranks as low as 19th in the list.

Why? What are the reasons? The problem is though cloud as a technology is growing rapidly there are issues of privacy, security, compliance, reliability because of the absence of physical infrastructure at the user-end. Even with security systems implemented cloud architectures can easily be hacked and data stolen or leaked. You have no control over these and the worst part is that the provider does not take any responsibility. And you can’t do anything about it because the court of law does not have stringent policies to penalise the vendors. Organizations are also concerned about the lack of auditability and transparency associated with cloud environments.

The Indian government is now evolving a policy framework for cloud computing to address concerns as well as drive the cloud revolution. This was revealed by Minister of Communications & IT, Mr Kapil Sibal at the 2012 cloud Summit organised by CII. ”The government is willing to collaborate with the industry and academia to develop a secure and progressive ecosystem for cloud services in India.” he said.

Highlighting the need for outlining technical and other parameters for cloud providers, standardization of contracts, privacy and security conditions, the Minister urged the industry to work out details for setting up cloud services. Describing cloud computing as a fine economic solution in a complex knowledge economy, the Minister suggested that the focus could be on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the starting point could be clusters, which have commonality of purpose and vision. This is correct because it is the SME’s/SMB’s that can highly benefit from the technology because they neither have the funds nor the resources to manage brick-mortar data centre’s at their end.

According to a study by EMC Corporation, the total cloud spend as a percentage of the total IT spend is expected to rise to 8.2 per cent in 2015. But can that really be achieved given the concerns and challenges surrounding it? Cloud computing is a technological paradigm that is certain to be a new engine of the global economy. Attaining those benefits will require the Government to establish the proper legal and regulatory framework to support cloud computing. Data protection and privacy is a major concern and unless a framework is developed around it, efforts to encourage the spread of the technology will be thwarted. We need to know what the Government is doing in that regard. How is it taking the vendors under its purview and what can be the immediate resolutions to these concerns.

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