G-Cloud must be a paragon of cloud virtue

By Juan Carlos Soto
04 Nov 2011 View Comments
TechAmerica Cloud commissioner Juan Carlos Soto

The journey to the cloud is well under way for organisations the world over. So far we've tackled the ‘what' and the ‘why.' Now we face the ‘how.' In line with this, the UK government has published its cloud implementation strategy. Whitehall CIO Joe Harley is aiming to radically change the delivery of services, but will the so-called G-Cloud serve to boost the confidence of CIOs as they begin to take their organisations on the journey to the cloud?

This matter of confidence is a discussion that continues to dominate industry thought on both sides of the Atlantic; we recently commissioned some research in the UK that found that while 84 per cent of organisations accept that cloud will definitely form part of their IT strategy, 43 per cent are still uncertain as to how their investment in the technology, and services, will change over time. But fear not, these hesitations are far from insurmountable.

Further reading

I was recently appointed as a commissioner of the TechAmerica Cloud Commission, which advised the US government on ways that it can accelerate movement to the cloud. In addition to publishing the Cloud First Buyer's Guide for Government, we published the US cloud computing roadmap that presents a series of recommendations seeking to assist organisations in the adoption of the cloud. These can apply not only to government but to private enterprises, large and small.

These pragmatic recommendations focus on four key areas: trust, transparency, transnational data flows and transformation. On one side, our recommendations regarding transnational data flows and transformation largely handle policy. Our other recommendations address specific operational issues and are immediately actionable across both the public and private sectors.

It is clear that there are common concerns, and solutions, that apply to both sides of the Atlantic, such as security and integration. In relation to these concerns, cloud providers need to be considering how to best provide their customers with clear insight and status updates, in order to provide transparency at all times. For example, the creation of "trust sites" ensures the protection and control of data and operational status are visible to users and gives them increased confidence about the cloud service.

Furthermore, customers should retain full control of their data via robust interfaces and tools, supported by an ecosystem of third-party solutions. This would provide businesses with seamless control of data in the cloud, which can easily be integrated with on-premise applications – essentially wherever their data resides.

The move to cloud computing provides compelling benefits to public and private enterprises of all sizes. For most organisations it is now more a case of when they move to the cloud, than if. To that end, it is of paramount importance that the UK government's cloud strategy demonstrates that its confidence in the model is not misplaced.

Juan Carlos Soto is senior vice president and general manager, B2B data exchange and cloud data integration business units, Informatica

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