Government rolls out cloud computing standards for Irish firms

21 May 2012

New standards for helping large and small firms move to the cloud have been published today by the Irish Government.

The National Standards Authority of Ireland in partnership with the Irish Internet Association (IIA), this morning launched the new standards, entitled, “SWiFT 10: Adopting the Cloud – decision support for cloud computing”.

The standard is designed to provide guidance to organisations both large and small on the various issues that need to be considered when moving to the cloud.

“A central part of the Government’s plan for jobs and growth is targeting key sectors where Ireland has competitive advantages and the potential to foster growth,” the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said.

“One such sector is cloud computing, and various studies have reported that Ireland has potential to create high levels of growth and jobs in this sector if we move early. That is why the Action Plan for Jobs sets out a number of measures that the Government will deliver in 2012 to help deliver on this potential.

“Today’s launch of new Government-backed standards to help guide businesses of all sizes that are looking to move to the Cloud marks the delivery of one of these measures. This is an important move by Government to help increase the numbers of Irish businesses, small and large, who successfully adopt the Cloud.

“I am determined that over the coming months we will continue delivering these measures on time so that we can achieve the growth in the economy and in employment that we need,” Bruton said.

SWiFT 10

Developed by IIA Cloud Computing Working Group and adopted by the NSAI as SWiFT 10, this collaboration has delivered a comprehensive roadmap for businesses to encompass all Cloud delivery and deployment models.

It is intended for use as a means of assessing Cloud adoption prioritisation and suitability.  The IIA Cloud Computing Working Group is a collaboration of expert practitioners and business leaders (CIOs, chief technical officers, heads of IT, legal, and consultancy) from a variety of business sectors and organisation sizes in Ireland.

“Many people are already using Cloud computing in everyday life without even realising it,” Maurice Buckley, chief executive, NSAI explained.
“Services such as e-mail, social networking and photo sharing are all forms of Cloud computing. SMEs in particular will be receptive to this standard, as every effort has been made to make it as user friendly and straightforward as possible.

“Many businesses are already making the transition, moving elements of their business to the more mature and better known aspects of the Cloud, such as email or file storage. We hope that SWiFT 10 will enable and encourage more Irish businesses to move to the Cloud in the coming years, which we believe will give Ireland an early adopter and market advantage in this space.”

The Decision Support Matrix contained within SWiFT 10 has been divided into a number of categories, which address the challenges and business benefits to be considered in developing and implementing a Cloud migration strategy.  Using the guide will support organisations in thoroughly assessing the practical suitability of Cloud computing across the gamut of business operations.  It includes a thorough review of all legal, security, maturity and cost/benefit considerations.

“Cloud discussion tends to be quite vendor led and product focused,” Joan Mulvihill, CEO, Irish Internet Association explained.
“SWiFT 10 has been specifically designed with the customer in mind.  All of the research has shown that while SMEs are convinced of the merits of the Cloud, they are hesitant to take those first steps.

“SWiFT 10 will guide business owners and managers through the process and assist them in making the appropriate decisions and setting the right course for their Cloud adoption strategy.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years