Self-regulation a way forward in Cloud computing: GAP Workshop report

| October 26, 2011
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cloud thumbnailOn 24 June 2011, GAP, in collaboration with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and a number of industry partners, convened a workshop on Cloud computing for a select audience of policy makers, industry leaders, civil society and academia.

The workshop built on the findings of the Task Force on Cloud Computing – a cross-disciplinary stakeholder group established by GAP in 2010 to address the potential impact of Cloud computing on the Australian economy, identify any issues of concern and work with the Government to develop appropriate policy frameworks for vendors, businesses and consumers. The recommendations of the Task Force were summarised in a public report released in May 2011.

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The June workshop was structured around four broad sets of issues:

  1. Cloud computing and opportunities for industry development
  2. The ways in which the National Broadband Network (NBN), in combination with Cloud computing, can transform economic and social development and government service delivery
  3. The implications of the use of Cloud computing by consumers and small business
  4. Policy frameworks, including privacy, standards and industry codes of conduct

The workshop highlighted some of the ideas brought up in the Task Force’s report, including the following:

  • NBN connectivity in combination with Cloud computing holds the key to a vast range of productivity improvements in the Australian economy; it will drive innovative solutions in a wide range of sectors, including education, healthcare, the public sector and the non-profits.
  • The Cloud and the NBN can deliver large productivity and efficiency gains for large businesses, SMEs, and all levels of government. The potential improvements for small business and local government services are especially significant.
  • Australia has a proven record of producing system integration solutions, but has failed to scale them for global consumption, and this might be remedied by the Cloud.
  • Success in the Cloud will flow from intellectual property and innovation, rather than the geographical positioning of data centres, offering opportunities to Australians in all fields of endeavour

There was widespread support at the workshop for governments to continue to develop an understanding of Cloud computing issues, but not to rush towards any quick regulatory responses. A combination of existing measures, self-regulation and industry’s voluntary codes of conduct may suffice to support customer interests. At the same time, the legitimate concerns of consumers and privacy advocates need to be considered in future work.

There was considerable support for governments and the private sector to continue to work together to identify evolving opportunities to use Cloud computing to transform government service delivery and develop new business opportunities as the NBN is rolled out. It was acknowledged that the Government could drive the take-up of Cloud solutions and encourage open systems and interoperability through their own procurement patterns, while an ongoing collaboration between government, industry and consumer groups should continue to raise awareness of the advantages of the Cloud and help consumers and small business to be well informed when adopted these services.

To download the GAP Workshop on Cloud Computing Report of Proceedings, click here.

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