Cloud computing self-regulation needed: Analyst

Crack down on the Cloud cowboys before the government does, says Longhaus

Self-regulation would lead to a more trustworthy, local Cloud provider industry and avoid contractual hassles, according to an analyst firm.

Longhaus research director, Sam Higgins, who will be presenting survey findings on Cloud self-regulation in Sydney, said the research has uncovered examples of bad practices in the Cloud industry which could give all providers a bad name.

“When you’re talking about putting your data in the Cloud, you need to make sure the Cloud provider isn’t going to take the money and after four years not hold up their end of the bargain,” he said.

Another danger is what happens if the Cloud provider goes out of business before the contract ends.

Higgins said the creation of a code of conduct, which allows companies to move contacts from Cloud providers before the contract ends, may help.

He cited the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Company (ITCRA), which states a firm using a recruitment company can shift the contract to another company before it ends.

“We should have agreements that state that if someone wants to move their virtual machines from one provider to another, it is clear they have the right to do that,” he said.

“From a Longhaus perspective what we need to ensure is that as our Cloud computing industry grows, that it is built as a robust healthy eco system and self regulation is the way to do that.

“My concern is there are cowboys out there and they will give other providers a bad name, then the government will step in and that’s not something young industries want, especially as Cloud computing is global and hard to regulate."

Higgins is not the only industry figure with concerns, with Robert Quinn of National Project Consultants saying the Cloud was a bit like the 'Wild West' with a number of 'cowboy' operators in the space at a the CeBIT Future-Proofing Your Data Centre conference in Sydney this week.

"My background is in the electricity field with generators and network providers which are highly regulated," he said. "Who is going to take some initiative when it comes to Cloud regulation?”

CSIRO client and infrastructure services executive manager, Peter Czeti, said regulation would not work in the Cloud computing space because the services offered vary from private to public Cloud.

"I think the electricity model comparison is a little bit simplistic primarily because there are all sorts of constraints on how that is consumed," he said. "You can't apply the same analogy to IT services. The Cloud is everything to everybody so regulation isn't really possible."

Westpac head of enterprise infrastructure architecture, Eugene Zaid, disagreed and said Cloud vendors who work in the government space would need tight regulation in terms of what they can and can not do with customer data.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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