The clouds are shifting in India. Startups are finding it easier to get funding for cloud-based projects. Zinnov Management Consulting expects the total Indian cloud market to jump from the current $400 million to an impressive $4.5 billion by 2015.
There is now more clarity and urgency about issues that need to be resolved before India, especially Indian government IT, starts making common use of the cloud.
NASSCOM, the national software body, was the first to list the challenges and opportunities in a report released in February (registration required). In March, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India released its National Telecom Policy, which listed the cloud services issues the government needs to address. In July, the Confederation of Indian Industry released a whitepaper titled "The Indian Cloud Revolution."
All three of these publications have raised issues that are agitating the IT sector. These include:
Data security: This is the foremost issue that the government needs to address. New laws or amendments are required to ensure data integrity. This includes access control policies and auditing options to prevent the violation of privacy or misuse of data. Policies will have to be shaped for data sharing between government agencies and private enterprises. For instance, sharing of medical records between government and private hospitals could ensure better service for patients, but it could pose a threat to patient confidentiality.
Application/storage localization: The government is very unlikely to let its data be hosted outside the country, because there will always be the threat of security breaches. Similarly, individual states may want their data to be stored within their boundaries. However, this poses challenges for data sharing and application reusability. State/centrally owned datacenters will need clear policies about what types of data they can or cannot store. It is also easy to imagine that some market players may not be pure Indian entities. Hence, the government will need policies to avoid leakage of sensitive information, as well as mitigation procedures.
Service-level agreements: The government also needs to work out a sustainable (SLA-based) service-level model with the major cloud providers. Predefined standards and expectations would need to be set on the technical and business availability of these services. Additionally, viable payment models will need to be developed to let agencies take advantage of competitive pricing options.
Vendor lockdown: The biggest fear of government agencies in shifting to the cloud is vendor lockdown. Open standards for application and data would need to be adopted and strictly enforced. This would ensure that agencies using different vendor implementations could interact and share data/application functionality. It would also allow for easier maintenance and enhancement.
Common platform: The government needs to give serious consideration to a common platform for e-governance applications. This would make data entry, storage, retrieval, and sharing easier. It would also substantially reduce the planning/cost/implementation required for e-governance ventures. The important issue here is that policies and regulations, while enabling such use, should also prevent abuse of information available in the cloud.
Infrastructure: Finally, clouds cannot happen unless the government seeds them with land, power, connectivity, and technology support. It will have to take the initiative to build infrastructure itself or seek the support of private enterprises. This is the only way India can catch up with the developed world in cloud computing.
The industry will be watching the government response carefully. Less than 5 percent of service providers' revenue comes from the cloud. But this may change in 2013. The cloud is drifting closer.
Batye, in India there no such rules but federal government is planning for a similar eligibility test for college and university teaching staffs. Based on their qualification, they can appear for the eligibility test under various streams and have to pass it. Once they pass such exams, they are eligible for appointment as lecturer/professor. There are also some exemptions for PhD scholars and peoples with higher experience.
Batye, for teaching, you require to get any license. In my country there are no such issues, if you are properly qualified and all the credentials are valid. You can just walk in to any of the college/university with your credentials and can have a face to face interview. If qualified, they will offer you appointment letter within a month, after the scrutiny of credentials with HRD departments.
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