Promising start? UK registers 7th place in first international cloud league

Jennifer Scott News
23 Feb, 2012

A BSA study shows the UK is well prepared for cloud, but raises concerns about a global patchwork of conflicting regulations.

When it comes to cloud, UK PLC is doing well but could do better. According to a new report, the UK is in seventh place when it comes to readiness to adopt cloud.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA)'s Global Cloud Scorecard, looks at how well countries are ready for cloud when it comes to laws and regulations. The scorecard specifically looks at seven areas of policy for each country: data privacy, cyber security, cyber crime, intellectual property, technology interoperability and legal harmonisation, free trade and, finally, IT infrastructure.

Despite coming high in the list of 24 countries published by the BSA, the UK still fell behind other EU countries, namely France and Germany, with the top place taken by Japan.

The BSA was pleased by many of the individual country’s performances, but its major concern was how they worked together, referring to “a global patchwork of conflicting laws and regulations” which it worried was “threatening the fast-growing cloud computing market.”  

Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive (CEO) of the BSA, said cloud computing could only be a success if it was able to scale across the world.

“In a global economy, you should be able to get the technology you need for personal or business use from servers located anywhere in the world,” he said, “but that requires laws and regulations that let data flow easily across borders.”

“Right now, too many countries have too many different rules standing in the way of the kind of trade in digital services we really need.”

As a result of its findings, the BSA has published its own guide for governments, aiming to help them establish standard regulations regardless of their location.

It calls on countries to protect user privacy, while still enabling the free flow of data, to promote cutting-edge cyber security practices, without the need for specific technologies, and to battle cyber crime with “meaningful deterrence.”

The ‘policy blueprint’ also recommends states to provide robust protection and serious consequences for those who interfere with cloud technologies, to encourage openness and interoperability between Virtual Cloudsviders and solutions, to promote free trade by lowering barriers and eliminating preferences and to provide incentives for the private sector to invest in broadband infrastructure, and promote universal access to it among citizens.

The UK got a mixed report, even with its relatively high placing. The BSA said whilst it had a comprehensive set of cyber and data protection laws, the need to register data sets were “an unnecessary burden” and could be a barrier to the cloud.

However, it also called the Government’s G-Cloud strategy “the most fully elaborated cloud policy in Europe.”

“The UK has made great progress in developing a solid policy environment to promote the full potential of cloud computing,” said Thomas Boué, director of government affairs in EMEA for the BSA.

 “However, a healthy national market for cloud computing does not necessarily translate into a market that is attuned to the laws of other countries in a way that lets data flow smoothly across borders. We must do more to ensure the development of a healthy global cloud computing system.”

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