COLT, a leading European provider of business communications, has today added its voice to calls for greater progress to be made in the creation and adoption of industry standards in cloud computing. COLT, now a member of the Open Cloud Manifesto, has made the call hot-on-the-heels of its recent announcement that it is ramping-up its managed services business in order to better serve its customers with COLT's network, utility computing applications and data centres.
Maggy McClelland, managing director of COLT Managed Services (CMS) argues, "There is a lack of regulatory and technical cohesion in cloud computing standards. There needs to be greater effort and more activity in driving consensus around what represents good practices, particularly relating to which aspects need to be standardised and when. COLT is fully behind the development of open cloud standards including a framework for certification and regulation of cloud computing services."
In addition to lending weight to the argument for the adoption of commonly agreed, pragmatic standards in the industry, COLT is also urging for any such standards to address issues that are of real concern to businesses such as risk management, compliance, data retention, security and business continuity. McClelland says, "When it comes to cloud services, the industry is too focussed on technological and technical debates. It is our customers' business issues that motivates or restrict them from adopting cloud services and it is, therefore, imperative that any regulation or standardisation addresses these requirements."
COLT has already realised the benefits that certification and regulation can bring, having achieved ISO 27001 certification, the globally recognised standard for managing information security. The company has seen how a commonly understood method of certification can help users when choosing both services and vendors. McClelland states, "COLT only works with business customers so we understand what is important to businesses when selecting a service provider. Enterprise cloud is not about a customer just purchasing a commodity utility but is a means of delivering a managed IT service to a customer. The certification of cloud services would enable customers to make informed choices about suppliers and would enable greater security of data and business critical applications."
COLT is leading a call-to-action for cloud computing customers to become informed about their exposure to risk when outsourcing their data and applications via cloud based services. McClelland says, "It is particularly important that customers seeking a cloud provider understand that, wherever their data resides and with whichever vendor, the responsibility for that data still sits with the customer. They still own their data and are responsible for it."
COLT's managed services solutions are built on its infrastructure combining 25,000km of network and 18 data centres across Europe. This footprint enables COLT to take full end-to-end responsibility for the security, availability and continuity of IT processes and computing capability. COLT's service level agreements are aligned to the customer's business and tailored towards service delivery, not the technology. The company's enterprise cloud platform, launched in July 2009 enables COLT to deliver services that give its customers the freedom to choose when and how to take advantage of managed infrastructure and application services as well as increased flexibility to drive greater levels of business efficiency, security and performance.