Australia continues to be one of the world leaders in cloud computing policies, ranked the second the second most prepared country for cloud adoption, one notch below Japan in first place, and with a particularly high score for its up-to-date cybercrime regime, bolstered by ratification of the Convention on Cybercrime.
Australia’s ranking for its cloud computing policies comes from a study by BSA | The Software Alliance which also found that Australia is a “global leader” in the international harmonisation of rules, while our security ranking also received a boost when the federal government dropped plans for mandatory Internet filtering.
The BSA study for 2013, just released, builds on an inaugural study published in early 2012, and is the first report ever to track changes in the global policy landscape for cloud computing.
“It is encouraging that Australia has improved on many areas in the scorecard scale by adopting and enhancing policies that are conductive to cloud innovation, but there remains room for improvement,” Roger Somerville, BSA Senior Director for Government Relations and Policy in the Asia Pacific, said.
“Every country’s policies affect the global cloud marketplace, so it is imperative for Australia to continue to focus on improvements.
We encourage the Australian Government to continue to commit to public sector cloud use and adoption, similar to the approach taken by the US government of adopting a cloud first policy. This will help Australia maintain, if not improve, on its impressive ranking and help grow the global cloud,” Somerville said.
The BSA study evaluated 24 economies across the globe in seven policy areas critical to the market for cloud computing services — data privacy, cybersecurity, cybercrime, intellectual property, technology interoperability and legal harmonisation, free trade, and ICT infrastructure.
Somerville said the sharp divide between advanced economies and the developing world that was revealed in last year’s BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard had narrowed somewhat in 2013 as “significant progress has been made by some developing countries, many of which are in the Asia Pacific, while progress plateaued in major developed countries like the US and in the EU.”
The BSA scorecard’s biggest mover was fifth-ranked Singapore, which Somerville said vaulted up five places after adopting a new privacy law that builds user trust while also promoting business innovation.
The study found that Japan continued to lead the global rankings with a comprehensive suite of laws supporting digital commerce. The US edged into third this year, pushing Germany into fourth place in the rankings.
BSA also reveals that cloud policy improvements in many of the world’s biggest IT markets have stalled, with all six European Union countries covered in the study losing ground in the rankings, and others “effectively unplugging themselves from the global market, with especially counterproductive policies in Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam.
“We’re seeing patchy progress in the policy landscape for cloud computing,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman.
“Mismatched privacy and security rules are making it hard for data to flow across borders, and too many countries are chopping off pieces of the cloud for themselves. This undercuts economies of scale that would benefit everyone.”
To capture maximum benefit from cloud computing, BSA advocates a policy blueprint covering each of the seven areas in the study — data privacy, cybersecurity, cybercrime, intellectual property, technology interoperability and legal harmonisation, free trade, and ICT infrastructure.
BSA recommends policymakers take the following actions:
• Ensure privacy: Users must have faith their information will be treated carefully, and providers must have freedom to move data efficiently in the cloud
• Promote security: Effective risk management requires flexibility to implement cutting-edge security solutions
• Battle cybercrime: Law enforcement and cloud providers alike need effective legal mechanisms to combat illicit access to data
• Protect Intellectual Property: Laws should provide clear protection and enforcement against infringement of underlying cloud innovations, and
• Ensure data portability and harmonising global rules: Governments should work with industry to develop standards that facilitate data flows while minimising conflicting legal obligations.