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The Cloud Summit 2012 in Delhi stressed on the need for a policy frame work on Cloud Computing. By KTP Radhika

India needs a comprehensive policy on Cloud computing adoption, stressed the Cloud Summit 2012 held recently in Delhi. Organized by industry body, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the one-day conclave with the motto of 'enabling the Indian Cloud revolution' saw policymakers, businessmen and consumers discuss various trends, technologies and issues affecting Cloud computing in India. The spectrum of issues included security, compliance, vigilance, policy and laws.

The summit was inaugurated by Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications & IT, who stressed the need for standardization for Cloud computing. "The government and the industry should work together to make standardization for Cloud computing since security is a serious issue. To make Cloud computing an economic solution and to address the present concerns, the government is making a policy framework," said Sibal.

The government is trying to make the country as a data management hub, the minister said. For that, along with infrastructure development, opportunities in Cloud-based platforms need to be leveraged by even SMBs, he noted. Sibal highlighted the need for outlining technical parameters for Cloud providers, standardization of contracts, privacy and security conditions. Sibal also released the CII White Paper on 'The Indian Cloud Revolution'.

"India is still in the process of evolving appropriate architecture to take advantage of the possible revolution," he noted.

The White Paper evaluates the opportunities and challenges in India's roadmap for Cloud adoption.

The gathering included many of the top echelons of the information technology industry. SD Shibulal, CEO & MD, Infosys, highlighted the amount of integration that the Cloud could deliver while offering immense functionality. "The Cloud has become part of our everyday life even if we are not realizing it. It is an opportunity for both the government and the small and medium businesses to improve productivity, improve economies of scale, cut costs and boost employment." he said.

S Gopalakrishnan, President-Designate, CII & Co-Chairman, Infosys, said that the right policy framework and laws would help address more issues in the Cloud.

Amit Sinha Roy, Vice President, Strategy & Marketing for Global Enterprise Solutions, Tata Communications, said that security had to be holistic. The network has to be secure, as does the access point, physical security and the disaster recovery aspect should all be well addressed in the Cloud system, noted Roy. The period of data retention is also important. Technologies are being developed to make the Cloud more trustworthy, he said.

Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, CII National Committee on IT, ITES and E-Commerce, & Chairman, Microsoft India, called for closer cooperation between various government agencies and departments to drive Cloud computing.

Discussing the importance of bandwidth, A Sethuraman, Executive Director, Huawei Telecommunications, said that the issues in wireless infrastructure and spectrum pricing had to be resolved. The pricing has to be done appropriately as otherwise the customer will end up overpaying. Also, there should be better broadband connectivity.

Kiran Karnik, Chairman, CII National Committee on Telecom and Broadband, said, "Data is the new currency and it is appropriate to look at banking analogies to address security and privacy concerns on the Cloud. For SMBs, the cloud posited exciting opportunities for low-cost technology solutions and clusters need no longer be bound by geographical considerations."

Stating the Business Software Alliance's (BSA) point of view, Lizum Mishra, India Director, BSA, said that Cloud policy in various jurisdictions had to be aligned commonly for the transformational flow of data in the Cloud. Data portability is a key issue, she said. The industry is working hard on standardization. However, the government's support is important in achieving this.

On opportunities in Cloud space, Vikas Gupta, VP, Head Cloud initiatives, Tech Mahindra, said that apart from making a business scalable, cost-effective and stretchable, the Cloud helped do business in a more courageous way. In the era of smartphones and tablets, the mobility-based Cloud will grow in a big way and telcos will be making use of it heavily.

Highlighting how the government could use the Cloud in cutting down costs to deliver services to people, Sameer Garde, President and MD, Dell India, said that IT centres being set up at the Panchayat level alongside State Data Centers could use the Cloud to a create a common infrastructure that would be accessible by all.

"The focus must be on verticals that enable sharing of resources, ensure security and take technology to the smaller towns and villages," said Garde. Industry veterans like Dr Anand Deshpande, Founder and Managing Director, Persistent Systems; Raman Roy CEO Quatrro Global Services; and Rajesh Uppal, CIO, Maruti Suzuki India, also spoke on the occasion.

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