Government warnings could kill the cloud

The New Zealand government has warned about storing data in the cloud. Local laws could become another cloud stumbling block.

By Keir Thomas, PC World |  On-demand Software, cloud security, government

It's not clear what's at fault in New Zealand's case: Is the law simply out of date, or is cloud computing threatening to tear down international boundaries in a way that governments find objectionable? It's a curious fact that the countries issuing these warnings are smaller rather than larger. Could this be a misplaced desire to protect national interests?

Whatever the case, it's yet more proof that--from a business perspective--cloud computing raises concerns beyond the mere logistics of making a switch. Cloud service providers are no doubt waiting for such issues to be worked out during implementation, but this could prove litigiously expensive for organizations using their services--and lead to damaged reputations, should the authorities attempt to make an example out of them.

One solution to the location problem is for cloud providers to run data centers in every country. While this might be a realistic prospect once (and if) the cloud gathers enough users, at the moment it's highly unlikely. And with countries that are physically close to each other--such as the United Kingdom and Ireland, or Belgium and France--it's always going to be unlikely.

With issues such as this, the ever-present risk of a standoff with no clear winner is arising. Nobody will move into the cloud until everybody else has.

Above all, cloud companies need to be far more reassuring about non-logistical issues--and even start to know what they are. It shouldn't come as a surprise for a business, when it joins the cloud, to find that it's contravening local laws.

Keir Thomas has been writing about computing since the last century, and more recently has written several best-selling books. You can learn more about him at http://keirthomas.com and his Twitter feed is @keirthomas.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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