New Govt plans to make Ireland a global leader in cloud computing

7 Mar 2011

In their Programme for Government, Fine Gael and Labour said they planned to make Ireland a leader in the emerging IT market for cloud computing by promoting greater use of cloud in the public sector.

The new Government said in its Programme for Government it will do this by organising existing State supports for cloud computing into a package to promote Ireland as a progressive place for IT investment.

This will involve the establishment of an expert group to address new security and privacy issues arising from cloud computing and reviewing the adequacy of current legislation and identifying steps that need to be taken to ensure a supportive regulatory environment.

Digital Mines, an Irish cloud computing provider focused on the European market, welcomed the move.

The company said it believes that if the new Government fulfils its objectives, it would help promote Ireland on a global level as a progressive environment for the use of cloud services and attract additional foreign investment. 

Irish cloud computing sector could be worth €9.5bn a year by 2014

Digital Mines also gave a number of additional recommendations in order for the Irish cloud computing sector to reach its potential of developing into a €9.5bn a year in revenues industry by 2014.

“Not only can cloud computing cut down on unnecessary IT spending in the public sector, but supporting it will help improve Ireland as a European and global hub for cloud computing initiatives,” Ed Byrne, Digital Mines’ managing director, explained.

“We would like to note, however, that cloud computing is a new market, and as such, while the programme mentions supporting investment in this area, the current public procurement guidelines do not make it possible for indigenous Irish start-ups to participate in the tender process. We would like to see this being opened up to support more local Irish small businesses.

“The establishment of an expert group to work on ensuring the regulatory environment is updated to encourage the use of cloud computing, rather than make it a daunting legal area as it is at present is also a welcome move.

“Current legislation, in most countries, does not take into account the new way of delivering services that cloud computing enables. This is not to say it is less secure or creates privacy concerns – but rather that legislation needs to move forward, with the fast pace that the IT industry does.

“If Ireland can become a leader in regulating cloud computing, and also possibly foster a business code of conduct for the use of cloud services, we believe that would greatly assist in promoting Ireland on a global level as a progressive environment and would help to attract foreign companies to invest here,” Byrne said.

The need to create a ‘Government cloud’

While the new Government says it would promote greater use of cloud in the public sector, Byrne says it needs to do something stronger than that.

“The Irish Government needs to lead if the country is to be considered a genuine hub for cloud computing. Already, the US government has created a central cloud service that departments use to procure applications and IT services – hugely reducing cost while also providing an increased level of service to public sector workers.

“We would like see the Government create a ‘Government Cloud’ which is managed centrally and provides the infrastructure and applications necessary to the public service. With this in place, and a real intent to update legislation – Ireland would be poised to take a significant piece of the tens of billions of euro this industry is estimated to be worth,” Byrne concluded.

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