Adopting cloud services is still a risky proposition but could be eased with more standards and accountability, experts claim.
Industry experts are calling for more regulation and standardisation of cloud services as uptake of the technology increases.
There are too many rivals offering confusing services, and no way for potential customers to know how well these offerings are supported - and users need an accreditation scheme, according to Ron Brown, director of cloud computing services at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities. Speaking last week at the Cloud Computing World Forum in London last week, he called for a scheme like the BSI's "kite-mark" to make it easier for customers to select trustworthy cloud services suppliers.
Trying to validate cloud services "was exceptionally difficult" because of a lack of oversight and standards, Brown told Computing, and his remarks have been echoed by others in the industry.
"The growing clamour for greater regulation, accountability and governance in cloud computing is undoubtedly justified," said Justin Pirie, director of Communities and Content for unified email specialist Mimecast, in a statement released this week. "While the benefits of cloud services are clear, the market is crowded and noisy and with no clearly defined industry standards, it is hard for customers to tell the difference between a cloud vendor with a properly architected delivery infrastructure and one that has patched it together and is using cloud as a 'badge'.
Pirie conceded that "various standards initiatives are underway," but the disruptive and emerging nature of the technology mean that setting up such organisations will take time. "Until a suitable industry standard can be agreed upon, it is vital that potential buyers of cloud services do their own due diligence and ensure the technology they use is robust, properly architected and secure," he added.
Research released by networking company Brocade this week claims that 60 percent of enterprises expect to have started migrating to cloud services within the next two years citing drivers such as cost reduction and improving business efficiency.
Commenting on the Brocade research, Andy Burton, chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) - a group that is looking to address the standards issues around cloud services - said that the technology fits with the needs of businesses amid continuing economic uncertainty
"With budgets tight and access to capital challenging, investment in IT for many businesses has been frozen if not in decline," he said. "This has naturally led many organisations to consider the efficiency savings that Cloud based services afford by enabling them to partner with a service provider to deliver baseline services whilst freeing up the stretched IT personnel to focus on delivering competitive edge and agility in this challenging environment."
A poll of listeners to a webinar hosted by eWEEK Europe UK last month revealed that 56 did not believe the cloud was ready to be trusted yet. But the majority agreed that issues around security and relability would be solved relatively soon, and many are looking to the cloud to simplify IT services.
Last week, the Symbian Foundation put its weight behind the Open Cloud Manifesto, saying the manifesto can help lead to a more open cloud environment.
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