ICC policy statement on business views on regulatory aspects of cloud computing
Building consumer trust and confidence in cloud is key. ICC believes that governments should be encouraged to use the regulatory powers they already possess in order to improve trust and understanding in the cloud services market. In the meantime, information is needed to help users make more informed choices among service offerings, terms and practices.
Although the commercial implications of cloud for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and consumers may be revolutionary, it does not follow that there needs to be revolution in government’s regulation of cloud services. While many issues related to cloud services may arise, most are either well within our experience curve or still evolving and not ripe for detailed guidance.
Overly prescriptive measures or the anointment of “a” best practice where many practices may be needed can serve to limit the potential of emerging models and constrain innovation related to models not yet developed. Regulators and governments already have wide-ranging powers in respect of cloud-based services, particularly in the consumer arena.
The reason that no specific new regulatory approaches are needed is that cloud computing represents a continuing evolution of technology. Most aspects of cloud computing have been in use in the business-to-business (B2B) context for years.
In this context, cloud represents an evolution of technology that has increased the scope, bundling and geographic spread of services offered. Many of the “regulatory‟ issues can, as now, be dealt with through proper contractual obligations. Practices, contract terms and provisions related to cloud services are continuing to develop with the evolving technologies and emerging business models.
In the case of large enterprises there is greater expertise and experience with these issues and related ones as well as greater likelihood of equality in bargaining positions. Furthermore, enterprise- cloud deployments often include customization or other unique services that need to be reflected in individualized contract terms.
For SMEs and consumers, while cloud services continue to represent technological evolution, they have the potential of creating more revolutionary business offerings in terms of new services and delivery mechanisms. But consumers and SMEs are initially less likely to have the knowledge or experience required to understand the possible legal and contract issues that may be relevant to cloud services. Finally, consumers and SMEs may have less bargaining power and will likely be relying on established service offerings where service variations are possible through in-built configuration options rather than customization to a single enterprise’s needs.
- Cloud computing represents a continuing evolution of technology that has increased in scope, bundling and geographic spread of services offered.
- Building consumer trust and confidence in cloud is key.
- Risks faced by businesses and consumers when dealing with cloud-based services are not new.
- Governments should be encouraged to use the regulatory powers they already possess in order to improve trust and understanding in the cloud services market.