Cloud Continues To Confuse UK Businesses

Almost a quarter of industry professionals are unable to define cloud computing, but will a new industry forum’s code of practice help provide clarity?

The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has voiced concern that UK businesses are confused about cloud computing.

The new industry association, formed to base a sub-group of the Federation Against Software Theft and Investors in Software (FAST IiS) to ‘promote trust within cloud computing by introducing a code of practice’, highlighted research that found 24 percent of 280 UK-based IT decision-makers polled failed to adequately define cloud computing.

The survey, which was carried out by market research firm, Chadwick Martin Bailey, highlighted “the importance of having both a standard frame of reference to define cloud services and a code of practice that aims to standardise and certify organisations offering those cloud computing services,” according to Andy Burton, chairman of the CIF group and chief executive of web hosting company, Fasthosts.

“Businesses need to trust and know exactly what technology and provider they are investing in,” he added. “The absence of a clear definition of who you are dealing with and how they operate results in an inevitable lack of trust, which is why firms are failing to take up the cloud.  The CIF Code of Practice is intended to enable suppliers to demonstrate the transparency, accountability and capability needed to reassure consumers of their services.”

According to the survey, 25 percent of respondents also believed that cloud computing does not offer a secure environment for the types of applications they require.

“We recognise that security, technical interoperability and commercial trust are the three major concerns for adoption of cloud services,” Burton said. “By developing a straightforward Code of Practice that certifies these and other key operations principles, we expect to help the consuming businesses achieve a level of trust, much like the padlock symbol used for website security does, it will benefit them and the many credible and professional cloud operators in the industry.”

Despite such barriers, the study also found that cloud computing structures were mostly used for databases, corporate email and storage resources. Approximately two-thirds of those polled said their organisations were currently using some form of cloud computing.

Burton added: “This is a positive figure which shows the industry is rapidly expanding. I am confident when the Code of Practice is fully established even more cloud users will be identified increasing this figure to include a vast majority of organisations.”

But Clive Longbottom, business processes facilitation service director for analyst firm, Quocirca questioned whether a code of practice would achieve greater adoption before a definition of cloud itself had been widely accepted. He told eWEEK Europe: “We’re still at the education phase at this stage, where there is no universal definition of what cloud is.

“Various groups are working on interoperability standards and various methodologies for defining external, internal or hybrid cloud deployments. But until then, and while many companies look to jump on the bandwagon, it would be helpful to educate organisations on how licensing in the cloud will work, and how virtualisation, as well as the cloud, will create related issues that must be overcome before any audit,” Longbottom added.

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