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Asia lags on Cloud Computing

Ross O. Storey | May 20, 2011
Asia remains about three years behind North America and Europe in the enterprise adoption of cloud computing, because of infrastructure issues, according to Per Dahlberg, the CEO and co-founder of the non-profit, vendor-neutral Asia Cloud Computing Association.

Information, like computing itself, is being un-tethered and policy makers are going to have to confront this new paradigm and quickly.  The Cloud presents complexities for policy makers because it throws up a range of difficult, and often sensitive, technology, social and political issues. These vary from broadband access, security and cybercrime, privacy and data governance, to the protection of intellectual property and free expression.

At another level, it is challenging to try and determine which jurisdiction's rules apply to which Cloud services and their associated data, particularly given the prevalence of trans-border data flows. This is because of the tension created when competing authorities assert jurisdiction over Cloud services and data across state and national borders.  We have seen many examples here in the region recently where governments are seeking greater access and control over online services from internet filtering, to law enforcement access to data services to how free expression is managed on the web.

Despite these issues, some sort of regulatory balance will have to be achieved between sovereignty and efficiency.   To that end, governments in Asia are in a prime position to design regulatory and legal frameworks that help build trust and confidence in the design and deployment of the cloud as well as inspire new innovation and social change from cloud services

What attitude do Asian governments, in general, have about cloud computing and are they encouraging its adoption, or opposing it?

According to IDC, the market for Public-Cloud Services in APAC will increase from $666m today to $2,216m by 2014. That's a compound annual growth rate of 27%.  As Asia develops economically, there is a real opportunity for governments and business across the region to collaborate technology policies that encourage greater business and trade collaboration, and facilitate integration and sustainable growth in the region.  Cloud computing will be a fundamental component in enabling a digital economy but also in helping advance the human capital opportunities for citizens in Asia.

To ensure that there is a connected cloud ecosystem across Asia, governments and policy-makers needs to progress public policy that builds confidence and trust in the management and security of data as well as promotes new rules across the region for the most effective trade of information between countries.  Asia's history of free trade and economic integration positions it well for leading this agenda across forums such as ASEAN and APEC as well as bi-lateral trade negotiations between countries. 

How do the governments of Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong differ in their approaches to cloud computing and its adoption?

Governments in each of these markets are driving cloud adoption.  Singapore is looking at the cloud as a key national competitiveness driver, almost seeing it as a natural step from being a physical transit and port leader to being a cloud service hub center for Asia.  HK is also adopting the cloud and encouraging a strong ecosystem of industries to leverage this investment and obviously seeks to lead North Asia in developing cloud services and infrastructure.  Both these markets benefit from the advanced broadband investments and high use of web-services by the community.  Malaysia, on the other hand is looking at leveraging the cloud to drive greater productivity and efficiency in the delivery of public services and empowering the community with the skills, the access and even the devices to be true digital citizens.  While they might differ in some aspects of their approach to the cloud, what is clear is that they are investing in the access, the ecosystem and the policy frameworks to ensure that they capitalize on the potential of the cloud for their economic and social future.


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