Seen as a means of delivering scalable computer services via the internet, cloud computing is swiftly gaining the attention of business across all industries.
According to the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA), worldwide spending on cloud services is expected to reach US$150 billion (H$1.17 trillion) by 2014 and spending on cloud computing is predicted to reach 30 per cent to 40 per cent of IT budgets by 2013.
"Cloud computing is poised to help accelerate the momentum around trade and economic integration here in Asia," says Per Dahlberg, founder and CEO of ACCA. "The knowledge economy will fuel Asia's future. The cloud is the next great `leveller'. However, to realise this potential, the region needs to harmonise the policy and regulatory frameworks that will facilitate effective trade in digital information and services."
Harry Pun, client services manager of North Asia for Symantec.cloud, says some sectors - such as the banking and finance industry - are more conscious about security. "Businesses of any size in any sector are all looking for the same thing - reliable protection from online threats that doesn't impact productivity or bankrupt their IT budget - and that's exactly what a good cloud security solution delivers," says Pun.
Alexa Bona and Frank Ridder, both research vice-presidents at GartnerResearch, say when assessing procurement and sourcing of cloud offerings, executives must understand what can be negotiated relative to risk elements. "If the cloud provider is complying with privacy regulations for personal data on behalf of the organisation, the client needs to be explicit about what they are doing and understand any gaps," says Bona.
Wilson Ho, managing director of Oracle Hong Kong, says cloud computing is at an early stage in its life cycle, but it is also the evolution and convergence of several trends that have been driving enterprise data centres and service providers for several years. "Recent surveys show that the top two benefits of cloud computing are speed and cost. However, the top concern by far is security," says Ho.