Cloud standards will eliminate confusion

The cloud is quickly gaining momentum in the private and public landscapes, as decision-makers around the world recognize the cloud for its flexible qualities and its ability to provide remote access to mission-critical resources. Yet one of the biggest reasons some organizations are hesitant to deploy the cloud is that the industry lacks a set of governing standards.

Unlike the internet, cloud computing has no centralized organization monitoring vendors and performance levels, according to an InformationWeek report. This is unfortunate because many service providers have individual data protection and availability standards that would surely meet the needs of most executives.

"The Internet had the [Internet Engineering Task Force], which wrangled people and protocols," cloud computing expert Mathew Lodge said, according to InformationWeek. "But in the cloud, the standardization landscape is so fragmented. There isn't a central body or forum or place, although lots of people and organizations are trying to be that."

Infrastructure as a Service in particular is gaining momentum and meeting the demands of most organizations. InformationWeek polled roughly 400 decision-makers and found that 89 percent of respondents believe cloud infrastructure offerings are either extremely or somewhat helpful for their company. Software as a Service, on the other hand, was only recognized as important by 85 percent of executives.

By developing a set of standards for several key categories, vendors will likely encourage even more businesses to deploy the services. Without these industry-wide principles, the cloud market will continue to be fragmented.

Portability, interoperability and provisioning specifications
If the cloud industry sets up portability standards, companies will ideally move applications and information between varying vendors' offerings, InformationWeek said. Service providers should also establish a set level of security and privacy functions, allowing organizations to have disparate cloud environments seamlessly integrate and work together without exposing sensitive assets.

A separate report by a cloud consultancy firm said the industry is beginning to recognize the benefits associated with establishing cloud interoperability standards, which will enable the entire private or public sectors to use the hosted services without too many disruptions.

As cloud computing matures, decision-makers will inherently become more familiar and comfortable with using the technology. When industry standards are established, firms will be less inclined to worry about performance issues or vendor lock-in, as executives will know that all vendors are required to meet certain expectations.

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