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News

FAST spins off Cloud computing self regulatory body

The Federation Against Software Theft : 05 November, 2009  (Company News)
The Cloud Industry Forum has been created as part of the Federation Against Software Theft for standardizing codes of conduct in the software as a service industry
A newly formed self-regulatory body called the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), a sub-group of FAST and Investors in Software (FAST IiS), has been established to promote trust and to work within the sector to develop a public facing Code of Conduct to standardise and certify enterprises offering Cloud Computing services.

An inaugural CIF roundtable was held recently to bring together key industry figures to discuss the issues and challenges that surround the development of a Code of Conduct to offer certification for providers. The technology is heralded by many IT experts as being a revolution in much the same way as the advent of the Internet, as it offers companies a substantially better way to do business while spending less money.

John Lovelock, Chief Executive at FAST IiS says: "The cloud revolution has been growing steadily for the past few years. It is now on the verge of becoming mainstream within the IT industry, encompassing a broad range of potential suppliers from ISV's to Hosting companies and global brands such as Microsoft and Google.

"The consensus from the CIF roundtable is that a major hurdle for increased adoption of the cloud by businesses is that organisations need clarity around what the service providers do and don't offer. They also need to know what financial and operational substance there is behind these providers and what assurances are in place in regard to security, confidentiality and service levels? Put simply - organisations seeking to use these services need a straightforward form of certification or 'Code of Conduct' for potential suppliers that will accurately define the services offered and standards of operation and security. Covering a diverse and emerging industry won't be easy but we're confident that there is both a desire on the part of credible service providers and by the consuming business community for such a standard to help benchmark and validate exactly what is provided by any particular company. We see the launch of such a code of conduct driving up standards so that the industry and the customers both benefit," says John.

The event was chaired by renowned technologist and cloud supporter Ian Osborne, Director of the Digital Systems Knowledge Transfer Network, a Technology Strategy Board funded programme operated by a consortium led by Intellect.

"The perception of many UK business leaders is that the cloud is somewhat unclear, making it harder than it need be to increase its uptake and establish user confidence. There are also concerns that by moving your IT capability to a third-party, businesses could be exposed to unknown financial, security or resilience risks of the third party. CIF's goal is to address these issues by both educating the sector and developing a credible resource that can be validated and demonstrated by Service Providers and sets out their clear standards upfront for the provision of cloud services" says Ian.

FAST IiS's chairman of the CIF Group Andy Burton, who is chief executive at web-hosting company Fasthosts says: "According to recent findings by IDC, cloud IT services are currently worth £10.7bn globally and is estimated to grow to around £27bn by 2013. These are staggering predictions and something for the industry and general UK economy to be excited about. The economic and innovation implications are profound for businesses adopting cloud solutions as it reduces the barriers to entry for small and mid-sized companies to have a world class agile and secure infrastructure without the capital expenditure traditionally required. The role of CIF is to simply work alongside this fast evolving industry, making sure it follows certain standards and therefore deters potential cowboy operators from misleading customers and thereby bringing the industry into disrepute. If we can develop a standard that users trust, much like the padlock symbol has done in the browser relating to website security, then it will be an asset not only to the user but also to the serious and credible cloud technology companies operating in this space."

CIF will shortly announce the formation of a working group made up of informed industry leaders to drive the creation and launch of a Code of Conduct in the UK. For more information about CIF, or to register an interest in being a participant, contact FAST IiS on 0845 521 8630.
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