Booz & Company Study: Urgent Need for Standardization in the Cloud

Cloud computing represents a major market growth potential. However, this potential can only be exploited if appropriate frameworks exist. The normalization and standardization of cloud computing are crucial in that respect.

Booz & Company recently released a paper on, The Standardization Environment for Cloud Computing, on the current normalization and standardization of cloud computing. To better coordinate and accelerate the standardization of cloud computing, the study reports that the standards for cloud computing help increase network security, which is also the focus of many small and medium enterprises. Most entrepreneurs know the dangers associated with the use of information technology and communications. However, there is a need to catch up in terms of the actual implementation.

In general, standardization in the field of cloud computing is seen as a good thing, because it will allow companies to use cloud computing more efficiently and with more confidence. But there are many challenges for companies making a transition to the cloud.

The study reports that the effectiveness of cloud computing has been limited by nine specific challenges that affect both providers and users. All these ongoing concerns such as efficiency of service provisioning, effectiveness of service usage and control, transparency of service delivery and billing, information security, data privacy, interoperability, portability between providers, ensuring fair competition in the market and compliance with regulatory requirements are slowing down the adoption of cloud computing in markets across the globe.

The study also found a total of 160 different standards covering different aspects of the cloud currently being deployed or under consideration. These gaps clearly indicate the effort to create true standards for cloud computing by taking into consideration on broader technological challenges, including information security, efficiency of provisioning, interoperability, and portability.

In conducting the study, Booz & Company indicated that governments need to promulgate the legal and regulatory standards to ensure the consistent regulatory environment to address such specific issues as the privacy challenges that come with the storage of sensitive data in public clouds.

The number of organizations working in the standardization of cloud computing is bloated. Most standardization bodies working on new dedicated cloud standards in the fields of architecture cloud platform, management of resource virtualization and portability and data security. Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), EuroCloud, European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are working to create standards for governance, enterprise risk, compliance and auditing, data privacy, and other regulations.

The best thing that could happen would be that they have the good idea to work together to avoid fragmentation of normative standards. It is at the platform as the need for standardization is the most urgent. This would allow companies to move workloads from one cloud provider to the other.

In setting legal and regulatory standards, policymakers and IT heavyweights should make sure that their activities include as wide a range of voices from the IT industry and the business community as possible. And they need to move quickly, before competing standards can be established that might hinder the growth of the cloud, the report concluded.

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