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Cloud Industry Forum Launches Code Of Practice

The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), established to promote trust, security and transparency within the sector, has launched its Code of Practice, following an extensive period of public consultation and piloting.

Over 200 organisations went through the process of reviewing the draft Code, which aims to eventually standardise and certify enterprises offering Cloud Computing services. The respondents came from across a broad range of industry sectors including service providers, software vendors, IT consultancies, industry bodies and analysts over a sustained two-month period.

The Cloud Industry Forum has been working on the development of the draft Code since October 2009 and it asked for end users, providers and other stakeholders to participate in the consultation process by downloading the draft CoP and providing feedback direct to CIF.

Interest in CIF has been growing rapidly since we announced its formation and since that time the founding members have been working hard to develop a detailed Code of Practice. What was critical in the development of the Code was not only the process of public consultation but critically a period during which our members could pilot the Code of Practice itself. That has taken over four months, raised a number of issues that had to be resolved relating to governance, transparency, capability and accountability, as well as detailed and comprehensive pilots being run by a number of CIF members.

I firmly believe that the market needs a credible and certifiable Code of Practice that provides transparency of Cloud services such that consumers can have clarity and confidence in their choice of provider. The market now has that benchmark.

CIF member, Phil Haylor, Compliance Officer for Rackspace commented: “Cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) computing is growing at a phenomenal rate and so this sector needs control mechanisms. By laying down the Code of Practice, the Cloud Industry Forum has now established a credible gauge for customers to assess a vendor’s capability to deliver a robust and secure high quality cloud service. With this clarity of information in place, the industry can now move forward and be judged on its ability to deliver.”

Mark Cresswell, President, Scalable, commented: “It was absolutely essential that all major stakeholders in the cloud ecosystem see the clear benefits in the Code. It had to include end-users as well as providers and the large number of smaller organisations offering customisable packages of services between the two. At the end of the day this is about building trust in the Cloud and we firmly believe that the Code of Practice will deliver just that.”

In a separate announcement being made today Phil Wainewright, EuroCloud UK president, added his support to the Code of Practice, stating: “We welcome this initiative which has been launched today as it helps end users as they look to the industry to define and agree on best practices for cloud computing which they can rely on.”

Piers Linney, Joint CEO, Outsourcery and member of CIF concluded: “The consensus from the Code of Practice consultation exercise was that a major hurdle for increased adoption of the cloud by businesses is that organisations need clarity around what the service providers do and don’t offer. They also need to know what financial and operational substance there is behind these providers and what assurances are in place in regard to security, confidentiality and service levels?

“Put simply – organisations seeking to use these services need a straightforward form of certification or ‘Code of Practice’ for potential suppliers that will accurately define the services offered and standards of operation and security. We see the launch of the Code today as key to driving up standards so that the industry and the customers both benefit.”

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Andy Burton is Chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), which aims to develop and sustain a credible and certifiable Code of Practice for the Cloud Industry. He is also the CEO of Fasthosts, a Web hosting company. He previously adopted the role of Chief Executive Officer of Centennial Software, a leading provider of IT asset discovery.