24 Aug 2013
Governments and Cloud Computing: Roles, Approaches, and Policy Considerations
A groundbreaking study on cloud computing and the role of governments by Urs Gasser and David O'Brien.
Governments from Bogota to Beijing are engaging with emerging cloud computing technologies and its industry in a variety of overlapping contexts. Based on a review of a representative number of advanced cloud computing strategies developed by governments from around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, and Japan, we observed that these governments – mostly implicitly – have taken on several different “roles” with respect to their approaches to cloud computing. In particular, we have identified six distinguishable but overlapping roles assumed by governments: users, regulators, coordinators, promoters, researchers, and service providers. In this paper, we describe and discuss each of these roles in detail using examples from our review of cloud strategies, and share high-level observations about the roles as well as the contexts in which they arise. The paper concludes with a set of considerations for policymakers to take into account when developing approaches to the rapidly evolving cloud computing technologies and industry.