Don’t let PIPEDA, Patriot Act hinder cloud adoption
Canada could certainly do more to develop its cloud computing market to compete with other countries when it comes to cloud service provider offerings, said an IDC Canada Ltd. analyst.

From an incentive and taxation standpoint, cloud service providers could benefit from the help in building out their businesses and acquire the scale needed to toil on the same playing field, said Dave Senf, director of infrastructure solutions group with Toronto-based IDC Canada.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for Canada to take on more of a leadership role,” Senf told the audience during a during a Web cast Thursday about the state of cloud computing in Canada.

As for adoption of cloud computing, Senf said although there exist rules and regulations that could affect data management in the cloud, there are not as many caveats attached to the likes of PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) and the Patriot Act as organizations may fear. “You can have customer data offshore but if data gets compromised, you’re still on the hook,” said Senf.

But that fear has already affected progress of cloud computing adoption with organizations citing compliance and regulation as a factor, said Senf. “Regulation is a bit overblown right now … but we’ll see that tend to drop off a little bit over time,” he said.

Same applies to the security and privacy concern that Canadian organizations currently rank as number one, according to a recent IDC Canada survey. With every new technology and computing model, Senf said “security rise up as the top issue, but then we see organizations becoming more comfortable with it.”

When security concerns subside somewhat with time, other low-ranking issues like data portability will rise to the top, noted Senf.

Currently, IDC Canada finds software-as-service usage at 85 per cent. Platform-as-a-service at 23 per cent, albeit an aggressive figure, noted Senf. And, infrastructure-as-a-service, the second-highest growth market, stands at 51 per cent.

As for IT spend on cloud computing, IDC Canada finds 6.5 per cent of the IT budget is currently allocated to cloud services although, again, Senf notes the figure is a tad high. Nonetheless, the “huge diversity” in organizations seeing anywhere from plenty to little growth in cloud computing budgets illustrates that the area is still very much an early growth market, he said.

The research firm forecasts a five-year CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 32 per cent for the Canadian cloud service market, which currently stands at $260 million.

Senf said that as cloud players like VMware Inc., Citrix Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. continue to vie for dominance, each will have varying levels of success. As a result, while there will be momentum towards creating standards for security, management and data portability in the cloud, Senf said “I wouldn’t hold your breath for any cloud standards.”

IT can definitely be the focal point for using public cloud offerings but the perception of IT by the business may very well affect that. IDC Canada identified certain areas where IT thought it was doing a better job than actually perceived by the business, for example the IT department being easy to work with, being core to the business’s success and making the right business decisions. “The extent to which IT is the primary service provider is based on these cultural elements,” said Senf.

Earlier in October, in an effort to make cloud services more consumable for enterprises, a new alliance was formed by Cisco Systems, EMC Corp., VMware and Orange Business Services. Through the alliance named Flexible 4 Business, members will initially provide infrastructure-as-a-service and software-as-a-service offerings. Also in October, IBM Corp. released its annual global report, Tech Trends, naming cloud computing as one of the hot technology trends as well as an in-demand IT skill. Respondents said they expected the primary IT delivery model to be cloud computing in 2015, surpassing on-premise computing. Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau



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