Canada was among the biggest gainers in the Business Software Alliance’s second annual Global Cloud Computing Scorecard, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Canada jumps three spaces over last year’s rankings, but is still just ninth of 24 nations studies.
Canada’s jump up the rankings were “pretty significant,” said Chris Hopfensperger, technology policy counsel and “cloud guy” for the BSA. He said that new policy around intellectual property and country-wide broadband infrastructure improvements are the main reasons for big jumps in Canada.
However, broadband infrastructure remains one of the biggest challenges in the Candian market, and although it has improved, it remains an impediment to Canada moving further up the rankings.
“It’s a huge nature with disparate population, and getting all of those people online at speeds that enable the cloud is a huge challenge,” he said. “Canada’s doing well, but it could improve.”
Canada’s level of cloud-readiness would also be better served by “a little bit more work in the cybercrime and security regime,” Hopfensperger said.
Here’s some more background on the BSA’s study:
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 harmonization, free trade, and ICT infrastructure.
Specifically, 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 IP: Laws should provide clear protection and enforcement against infringement of underlying cloud innovations.
Ensure data portability and harmonizing global rules: Governments should work with industry to develop standards that facilitate data flows while minimizing conflicting legal obligations.
Promote free trade: Eliminate barriers such as preferences for particular products or service providers.
Bolster IT infrastructure: Provide incentives for investment in broadband and promote universal access.
Japan continues to be most “cloud-friendly” country in the world, according to the survey, with Australia holding on number two, and the United States narrowly beating out Germany for the bronze medal.
Singapore was the big winner in terms of advancement, up five spaces to number five in the study. Hopfensperger said that the Asian country benefited from adopting a cloud-friendly policy, which “balances the need for personal data protection with the need for businesses to move data.” Brazil was also a big gainer, having signed on for the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime over the course of last year.
“It’s important to give users trust in the cloud environment,” he said.
Among those losing ground, all six European Union lost a little bit of ground, but the study was particularly harsh on Korea, Indonesia, and China.
Korea (referring to South Korea, not the saber-rattling “Best Korea”) was a surprise, Hopfensperger said, since it’s generally seen as a leader in technology fields.
“They decided to take steps to encourage cloud computing, but the way they drafted it treated cloud as something distinct and separate from normal IT,” he said. “In doing so, they unplugged a bit from the global cloud by introducing Korea-specific standards and putting burdens on would-be cloud providers.”
China took heat for its tendency to control the Internet and limit interconnections with other countries, and Indonesia was slammed for legislation that effectively requires companies to keep data in-country.
“They decided to seek to secure a few construction jobs to build new data centres rather than acknowledging cloud as an enabler,” Hopfensperger said.
Still, overall, he said the BSA was “heartened” by the way some major markets are moving up in the rankings.
“It shows that these countries are seeing the benefits cloud computing can bring, and are plugging into it as an international resource,” he said.