09/13/2011 04:18 pm ET | Updated Nov 13, 2011

Accelerating Cloud Deployment at Home and Abroad

By fundamentally transforming the way computing power is bought, sold, and delivered, the cloud is proving itself to be truly transformative. Industry by industry, sector by sector, enterprises are reimagining their back offices and offering products and services to customers in new, highly efficient ways that create widespread benefits for the economy.

How can government help unleash the full promise and potential of the cloud at home and abroad? That is one of the key questions being asked by the leading technologists participating in BSA's CTO Forum this week in Washington. As I noted yesterday, the CTO Forum is an opportunity for the country's top technologists from the public and private sectors to brainstorm opportunities to harness technology innovation to grow the economy and create jobs.

No opportunity stands out in quite the same way as the advent of cloud computing, so the technologists participating in this year's CTO Forum are delving into several specific, cloud-related issues:

  1. Removing obstacles to the free flow of data across borders by advancing a globally integrated policy framework. Because of the cloud's global reach, its biggest benefits will likely come as it spurs efficiency gains and new business opportunities throughout the digital economy, which knows no national boundaries. That is why US leadership is critical. We must advance consistent policy principles that allow data facilities and computing functionality to be located wherever market opportunities exist.
  2. Enhancing an identity ecosystem that gives people better ways to authenticate themselves online. It used to be said that on the Internet, nobody knows you are a dog. But today, many of the most powerful cloud technologies need to be able to authenticate who you are in order to provide the services you want. That is why BSA member companies are leading the way in developing and delivering advanced new identity systems and solutions. And it's why we support government enabling an industry-led, market-driven system for providing multiple, interoperable solutions for consumers and businesses alike.
  3. Deterring the malicious hacking of cloud accounts. For businesses and consumers to trust that cloud services are as safe and secure as they can be, we need strong deterrents to malicious hacking and new enforcement tools for investigating and prosecuting those who violate online security. BSA supports legislation that provides effective deterrents and clear criminal and civil causes of action against such illicit activities.
  4. Accelerating government use of the cloud to capture operational efficiencies and budget savings. The US government can save as much as $5 billion a year by moving just a quarter of its $80 billion IT portfolio into the cloud. But in order to accelerate uptake of the cloud while preserving robust security, the government needs to implement the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, known as FedRAMP, to provide a standardized approach to evaluating the security of cloud services.

With its promise of greater efficiency, productivity and value for the money, cloud computing has emerged at just the right time for businesses, governments, and organizations looking to do more with less. Policymakers now have an opportunity to advance these benefits by ensuing cloud providers and users have the predictability that comes from uniform international rules, an enhanced online identity system, strong deterrents to malicious activity, and the example set by the US government's leadership in cloud acquisition.

This post was also featured on the Business Software Alliance's blog, BSA TechPost. The Business Software Alliance is a trade group that represents software makers against copyright infringement.