India to answer unanswered cloud questions

Location India. Red pin on the map.The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has launched a consultation project to identify the challenges of governing a digital economy driven by cloud computing, reports

TRAI launched a consultation paper last week which outlined questions which still remain over the adoption and management of cloud computing. Before an adequate regulatory framework can be built, the team have highlighted a complete understanding of cloud as a technology and its business implications are required. TRAI has seemingly unearthed a number of unknowns which have been swept aside during the speedy adoption of cloud computing.

The consultation process itself will focus on several areas affecting the adoption of cloud computing in India including future trends, security, interoperability, quality of service, a legal & regulatory framework and the overall implementation of cloud services. The objective of the consultation process is to create a framework which encourages growth and adoption of the technology, while also protecting the interests of the customer.

“With a view to bring out all relevant aspects of the issues and to provide a suitable platform for discussions, TRAI has initiated this consultation paper to engage the industry and all the stakeholders on the key issues referred by Department of Telecom,” the team outlined in the consultation paper.

India is generally recognised as one of the more lucrative markets for the cloud computing industry, owing to a large population and a healthily growing economy. The report states the public cloud service market in India is expected to grow from $ 838 million in 2015 to $ 1.9 billion by 2018, while social, mobility, analytics and cloud technologies collectively could account for $1 trillion in 2016 alone.

The basis of the consultation paper would seem to be based on not only a lack of information available, but also a lack of constancy and clarity of the benefits, cost and ongoing management of the technology itself. Two areas which were given particular attention in the paper was that of lawful interception and interoperability.

According to TRAI there is currently a lack of clarity on how lawful interception will be justified and managed in a cloud-orientated, but also how data will be managed in the international community.

“One of the top security concerns of enterprises is the physical location of the data especially if they are located in another country because the laws of the host country apply to the machine and data residing on it,” the report highlighted. “That becomes an issue if the host country does not have adequate laws to protect sensitive data or if the host nation becomes hostile and depends largely on the government concerned. The primary location of the data and any backup locations must be known to ensure these laws and regulations are followed.”

From an interoperability perspective, there could be a need to formalize the means in which a customer moves from one cloud provider to another to ensure a fair proposition for the customer. Here the consultation process will focus on identifying how vendors can standardize processes and aspects of the technology to ensure interoperability, as well as what regulations need to be put forward so the customer is able to have control over his data while moving it in and out of the cloud.

Those who wish to put forward their opinions have until 22nd July to make their comments known to the organization.