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NZ on 'front foot' with Cloud code of practice

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Xero CEO Rod Drury says developing CloudCode puts New Zealand on the front foot. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Xero CEO Rod Drury says developing CloudCode puts New Zealand on the front foot. Photo / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand has developed a code of practice to help regulate the rapidly-growing Cloud Computing industry, making it one of the first countries to do so.

The New Zealand Computer Society (NZCS), a professional body of IT Professionals, released the Cloud Computing Code of Practice at a summit in Auckland yesterday.

CloudCode, as is has been called, aims to improve the standard of services offered by Kiwi cloud providers, setting out a framework of voluntary, self-regulated standards.

The idea for a code came out of last year's inaugural NetHui conference.

A number of providers called for something to be put in place to strengthen consumer faith in the industry, said NZCS CloudCode Coordinator Joy Cottle.

"With cloud being something very hard to define, it meant there were providers offering services that fell short of acceptable practice."

Cottle said consumer confidence in the industry could be undermined by providers offering a lack of acceptable data security or back-up procedures.

Cloud computing is the term given to on-demand, internet-based services where individuals and businesses can store their data.

Other than Britain, New Zealand is the only country to develop such a code and a handful of Asia-Pacific countries have now contacted the NZCS about following suit, Cottle said.

The new code puts New Zealand on "the front foot", said Rod Drury, chief executive of online accounting software company Xero.

"We're getting more traction in New Zealand with cloud computing and we thought this would be a way to show some international initiative."

The reason New Zealand has emerged as a forerunner is down to the fact that developing a code is extremely difficult, especially in bigger countries, Drury said.

"In a small country like ours it's more possible because the industry is tighter."

Drury expects a strong take-up from Kiwi cloud providers and said the code's voluntary sign-up will not matter.

"I think the market works anyway and if consumers see companies following this code, they'll be more likely to choose those companies."

Cottle said it is unclear whether the code will ever become compulsory, but for now the NZCS and industry wanted it voluntary.

"We took the approach of trying to ease this into the market, rather than making it compulsory and having people turn their tails up.

"This means we can iron out the details in case it becomes compulsory in the future."

NZCS is considering establishing a register and accreditation process for cloud providers wishing to comply with the code, starting in August.

CloudCode took about eight months to develop and was contributed to by than 250 individuals and companies.

Its development was funded by industry players such as NZCS, Gen-i, Equinox, OneNet, Webdrive and Xero.

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