Regulation Will Increase Complexity in the Cloud


Once again, Dan Woods' JargonSpy column in Forbes has provided much food for thought in the realm of compliance and regulation. Earlier this month, he wrote about computing in the cloud, and how, up to this point, no one has really cared much about how all the stuff that happens out there "in the cloud" actually works. The big deal, for most people, is that it works.


Woods argues, though, that the time is very near when we will care very much about the "how." In fact, that time may already be here. He notes:

The cloud as an abstract entity in a place you don't have to worry about will be replaced by clouds that have geographies, special purposes, other companies and rules that guarantee compliance with regulations.
Governments and regulators are the first driver of the move from simple to complex clouds, he says. For instance, already a "cloud" service will not be acceptable to the Canadian government unless its servers are literally within Canadian borders. A U.S.-based service won't pass muster because Canadian officials don't want information about their citizens held in countries with fewer privacy protections. (Essentially, Woods says, they're concerned that the USA PATRIOT Act doesn't protect personal information.) Other countries may have similar requirements so they can tax the company doing business within their borders.


Additional drivers of change will be network topology, quality of service, and application and tool expertise. So enjoy simple computing in the cloud while you can. It won't be simple for long.