Irish Government Warns on Cloud Computing

It’s a move that’s a bit of a setback to cloud computing, especially as governments around the world adopt cloud computing platforms to save money and institute efficiencies. The move I’m talking about is the Irish government’s recent warning to all government departments and public sector agencies that they shouldn’t buy cloud computing services without legal advice, according to a story I read.

But while it’s a setback, I think it’s a move I can certainly understand.

It was the Irish Department of Finance that sent out the e-mail warning, and the agency cited concerns over such issues as data protection, confidentiality and security and liability.

The warning seems to go against Ireland’s intention to migrate to the cloud, as one of six key tech strategies to support a “smart” economy.

The email seems, too, to be at odds with the new cloud computing centers that both IBM and Hewlett Packard have established in the country, which has created 190 jobs. Microsoft, which is identified in the e-mail as a cloud computing supplier, invested $500 million (about 366 million euros) building a data centre in Dublin that it opened last year. That center will provide these cloud services.

The story quoted Ed Byrne, general manager of Hosting 365, a cloud services provider, described the Irish government e-mail as “damaging” and showed a “lack of knowledge” of what the technology involves.

As much as I think a government edict to refrain from buying cloud services is a bit drastic, I can see how Ireland is concerned about security and reliability issues. I would advise the government there to meet with Microsoft and HP, and if those cloud computing companies are smart, they’ll help assure Ireland of the cloud’s safety and educate it on the promise and potential of the cloud.

  • Hi!

    You’re from America… so things like Patriot Act seem normal to you. But when you are from outside of the USA, and you store your data on American owned infrastructure (say, Google Apps) then you must accept the fact that US government might elect to access that data in case of supposed terrorism.

    Now this can lead to interesting situations… first because it means US government has a path to hosters to request for data… and second that they might decide to abuse it in case of economical interest, like when US government intercepted private commercial offers from Airbus Industries to an airline wanting to buy planes and gave the information to Boeing so that they could make more competitive offers. This was pre-1998… In 1998 France liberalized crypto to ensure that this would not happen again.

    When you store your data on an American cloud provider, you are opening the door so that it may happen again.

    Hence the recommendation for legal advice. Don’t do cloud if your data SHOULD NOT FALL into American (or OTHER, for that matter, third party) hands.