CloudWATCH - At the cusp of cloud meeting the Internet of Things, How can SMEs grasp new opportunities while staying safe in the cloud? - Cloudscape VII Position Paper
The pressure to produce new features and new service capabilities faster than ever to keep up with the cloud now applies to many different types of businesses and government services. It brings with it an acceleration of the pace of business.
The CloudWatchHUB.eu is a digital hub helping public and private sector organisations carefully plan their journey to the cloud. It showcases the benefits of cloud computing in terms of agility, capacity, the creation of new business value and cost efficiency.
The use of cloud services is not as high as expected, mainly due to concerns about security of data, lack of clarity and transparency. Addressing these issues is fundamental to increase further uptake of cloud services. It is particularly important as we stand at the cusp of cloud meeting the Internet of Things (IoT), where each connected device create a potential security weakness. Experts are already raising unsettling questions about online privacy and security .
Cybercrime is also on the rise and already extracts between 15-20% of the value created by the Internet, currently estimated to be around $2-3 trillion annually, with significant direct impact (e.g. financial losses, destruction of digital assets, business interruption) and indirect impact (e.g. reputational damage, loss of customers and loss of intellectual property) .
Small organisations are now facing similar risks to big corporations in a rapidly evolving landscape of threats. Lack of proper risk management (RM) and inadequate security information systems and networks also play a key part in increasing cyber incidents. By far the most important challenge, however, is lack of awareness, especially among small firms.
Special guidance, tailored frameworks and standards implementation are needed to ensure the right security measures are put in place. This is fundamental to counter concerns and mitigate risks so that security and data protection enable rather than stand in the way of new business opportunities, economic growth and job creation.
Market sector targets
Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the European economy: 99 out of every 100 businesses are SMEs and they employ 2 in every 3 employees. But when it comes to adopting new services or implementing information security systems, SMEs face significant challenges. They typically have restricted budgets, limited resources and limited expertise in information security. They are also in a weaker position compared with larger organisations when it comes to negotiating cloud contracts. They are increasingly less likely to adopt cloud because of security concerns, complex terminology and lack of transparency.
So how can we best facilitate SMEs in migrating to the cloud and help them innovate in the global marketplace where new business value creation is becoming increasingly important? How do we bring together small firms and cloud service providers in a way that facilities information in a neutral and objective way?
CloudWATCH is creating new services and tools to help navigate SMEs to the cloud confident that they have at their fingertips all the practical, security and legal information they need to make the right decisions . Helping SMEs understand means for their business is the first step towards realising its benefits. It is key to enabling innovation in the marketplace by creating and delivering value to customers in news.
Why cloud is a helping hand for SMEs?
CloudWATCH has already led the way with the launch of the European Cloud Scout, a novel interactive tool for SME managers in Europe with low-threshold information on legal, organisational and technical requirements for the successful use of cloud services .
Cloud Scout focuses on security issues primarily for SMEs. In just 10 to 15 minutes this tool provides information about what needs to be considered in order to use cloud computing in a secure manner and about how businesses can even improve information security.
Cloud Scout has an EU-wide vision. Launched by former European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, Cloud Scout is supported by DIGITALEUROPE’s member National Trade Associations across Europe. Several country and language specific versions already available online and more will follow.
But it doesn’t stop here. CloudWATCH is now poised to launch a highly practical and insightful web application for SMEs. The goal is to enable SMEs to get a much clearer picture of cloud services, and match current offers on the market with their specific business needs and processes. It will put at the fingertips of SMEs all the information they need to make informed decisions in a stepwise approach.
The tool will also provide information, tips and check-lists on key pain points for SMEs: legal issues, contracts and SLAs; certification and compliance; interoperability and performance.
Features of the web application include:
A portfolio of cloud service providers
A portfolio of cloud services with links to further information, demos and other practical guides on CSP websites.
The web application will also offer an opportunity for cloud service providers to describe their services in a way that focuses on capabilities and added value rather than just prices. Providers will also benefit from the feedback SMEs can give through interactive features. This will make the web application an important digital space where SMEs and cloud service providers can mutually benefit from sharing information, ultimately helping to better understand and meet SME needs.
Links and references
 Internet of Things and cloud raising 'unsettling' questions over online privacy and security, warns expert, http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/2396950/internet-of-things-and-cloud....
 Net Losses: Estimating the Global cost of Cybercrime – Economic Impact of Cybercrime II, Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 2014, http://www.mcafee.com/it/resources/reports/rp-economic-impact-cybercrime....
Patrice Chazerand, Digital Europe & Stephanie Parker, Trust-IT Services