EU Agency Releases Report on Governmental Cloud Computing Security in EU

The main goal of the report is to support governmental bodies in taking informed, risk-based decisions regarding security of data, resilience of service and legal compliance on their way to the cloud.

The EU's cybersecurity agency, ENISA, has launched a new report on governmental cloud computing that targets at senior managers of public bodies who have to make a security and resilience decision about how to “go cloud,” if at all. The main goal of the report is to support governmental bodies in taking informed, risk-based decisions regarding security of data, resilience of service and legal compliance on their way to the cloud. It also highlights security and resilience pros and cons of community, private and public cloud computing services for public bodies.

"The new report presents a decision-making model for senior management to determine the best cloud solution from a security and resilience point of view,” said Daniele Catteddu, author of the report, which details and explains the different steps of the decision-making model, and applies the model to four sample services (electronic healthcare services, electronic administrative procedures, e-mail and human resources applications). Analysis and conclusions are mainly based on three scenarios, which describe the migration to cloud computing of a healthcare authority, a local public administration and the creation of governmental cloud infrastructure.

The Agency concludes that private and community clouds appear to be the solutions that best fit the needs of public administrations if they need to achieve the highest level of data governance. If a private or community cloud infrastructure does not reach the necessary critical mass, most of the resilience and security benefits of the cloud model will not be realized.

The executive director, professor Udo Helmbrech, said, "Public cloud offers a very high level of service availability, and is the most cost-effective. Yet, currently its adoption should be limited to non-sensitive or non critical applications, in the context of a well-defined cloud adaptation strategy with a clear exit strategy."

The report makes several recommendations to governments and public bodies, including:

National governments and the EU institutions should investigate the concept of an EU Governmental cloud.
Cloud computing will soon serve a significant portion of EU citizens, SMEs and public administrations. National governments should thus prepare a cloud computing strategy and study the role that cloud computing will play for critical information infrastructure protection (CIIP).
A national cloud computing strategy should address the effects of national/supra-national interoperability and interdependencies, cascading failures, and include cloud providers into the reporting schemes of articles 4 and 13 of the new Telecom Framework Directive


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