Every so often, it pays to take a look at the big picture, and when it comes to cloud computing, one of the best measures of the big picture is the BSA Global Cloud Computing Scorecard. The study ranks cloud computing support in the top 24 countries that account for 80 percent of the world’s IT markets. Each nation is evaluated based on seven key policy areas: data privacy, security, cybercrime intellectual property rights, support for industry-led standards and international harmonization of rules, promoting free trade, and IT readiness and broadband deployment.
According to the summary, “this year’s results reveal that almost all countries have made healthy improvements in their policy environments since the release of BSA’s previous Scorecard in 2013.” However, the gap has widened between the highest achieving countries (such as the top three–Japan, the U.S., and Germany) and those in the middle and lower ranks.
It’s a fascinating read (not nearly as dry as you might expect) and the details reveal insights about each nation that you won’t see elsewhere. For example, South Africa and Canada made the biggest gains, moving up six places and five places, respectively.
In addition, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) bodes well for a number of these players. This multilateral trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries is expected to create a strong framework for movement of data across borders. (The agreement has been negotiated and signed, but has not yet entered into force.)
That said, the report makes it clear that the worldwide success of the cloud is not inevitable:
“In order to obtain the benefits of the cloud, policymakers must provide a legal and regulatory framework that will promote innovation, provide incentives to build the infrastructure to support it, and promote confidence that using the cloud will bring the anticipated benefits without sacrificing expectations of privacy, security, and safety.”
Of course, this kind of change is easier for some countries than for others, but for cloud computing to work as effectively as possible, world leaders need to provide their full support in these key policy areas. This will foster the free flow of data and empower people to improve their circumstances, regardless of which nation they call home.
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