Cloud computing code of practice released

Code is voluntary, but providers who adopt it are bound by its conditions

The Computer Society has released the first version of the New Zealand Cloud Computing Code of Practice (known as the CloudCode.

NZCS has been coordinating the gestation of the code for about nine months and chose the Cloud Summit conference in Auckland this week as the platform for a formal launch.

The code is voluntary, but if accepted by a cloud provider, it binds that company to compliance with a number of conditions on the offerings. It also commits the provider to disclose to potential customers the product’s key characteristics in areas such as privacy, security and availability.

In return for taking on code compliance, the provider is allowed to advertise the fact.

“Organisations that are compliant with this code of practice will be authorised to use a code of practice compliance logo on their marketing and website (which must link back to The CloudCode website),” says the text of the code.

“The code will also state specific wording which can be used in marketing collateral, tender responses and quotes.”

“The code received significant support at the Summit due to its plain English disclosure-based approach,” coordinator Joy Cottle says. “The idea is to remove obfuscation and help cloud users understand and differentiate good-quality and secure cloud computing offerings”.

As discussed earlier this year the code puts restrictions on use of the term “cloud” in advertising and marketing material. “Those who are formally compliant to this code of practice will…NOT [capitals in original] market any product or services specified in section 5.2 as a ‘cloud’ product or service unless it meets the [code’s] cloud definition,” it says.

The code’s definition of cloud computing requires “on-demand self-service, ubiquitous access, location-transparent resource pooling, rapid elasticity [and] measured service with pay per use.” A more detailed definition is appended.

However, after stakeholders laboriously formulated a precise definition of a cloud service, the code allows for some fuzziness. “Products and services which meet the definition in spirit and are generally considered a cloud offering, but are precluded due to an arbitrary matter related to the definition, will be considered on a case-by-case basis,” it says.

The CloudCode can be read here.

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