The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has launched a Code of Practice for Cloud service providers following, it says, an extensive period of public consultation and piloting.
The Code aims to eventually standardise and certify enterprises offering cloud computing services. The forum has been working on the development of the draft code since October 2009 and says that some 200 organisation had a say, including end users, providers, software vendors, IT consultancies and other stakeholders.
The Code of Practice incorporates areas such as operational issues, delivery, financial viability of suppliers, governance and technology standards and interoperability.
Andy Burton, CEO of Fasthosts and chairman of CIF reckons 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.
“We 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 from 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."
In a separate announcement, Phil Wainewright, president of EuroCloud UK welcomed the initiative "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."
Recent research conducted by EuroCloud member Mimecast, found that 51 per cent of respondents are already using cloud-based services for at least some aspect of their IT needs. The research found that email (62 per cent), security (52 per cent) and/or storage (50 per cent) are likely to be first applications that are migrated to the Cloud.