The Electronics and IT Ministry on Thursday have issued guidelines for setting up of IT infrastructure by the government departments using the cloud computing technology with a clause mandating that all data must be stored within the country. Lately, Gemalto says that about 36.6 million data files breached in India in the past years.
The guidelines for the government departments on contractual terms related to cloud services said that since the data can be located in one or more discrete sites in foreign countries, so, the condition for data location has to be explicitly mentioned in agreement with the service provider.
The guidelines said that the terms and conditions of the Empanelment of the Cloud Service Provider had taken care of this requirement by stating that all the services including data will be guaranteed to reside in India. The cloud computing service enables its user to hire or use software, storage, servers as per requirement instead of purchasing the whole system.
MeitY has empanelled about 11 companies for providing cloud computing services to government departments which include Microsoft Corporation, IBM India, Hewlett-Packard, Tata Communications, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Net Magic IT Services, Sify Technologies and CtrlS Data Centers.
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Cloud computing can help government departments expand the capacity of their IT system as per the need and even for a short period and can quickly start any online service. The cloud computing system could be of help to departments especially in handling the sudden load of web traffic generated to access their websites like in the case of train ticket booking, form filling or tax submission on the last date, etc.
“The department is required to move away from the traditional fixed payment model to a variable pricing or utility pricing model where the department pays for the resources it uses during that period. The payment terms need to be structured accordingly to pay only for the resources used by the department,” a separate set of the guideline issued for cloud services procurement said.
The guidelines on cloud computing follow MeghRaj Policy (cloud policy) to provide strategic direction for the adoption of the cloud services by the government. The main aim of the cloud policy is to realize a comprehensive vision of a government cloud (GI Cloud) environment that is available for use by the central and state government line departments, districts and municipalities such that to accelerate their ICT-enabled service improvements.
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As per the guidelines, both the cloud service provider (CSP) and the government department would have to share responsibility for managing the services provisioned using cloud computing facility.
The guidelines said as quoted “The CSP’s part in this shared responsibility includes providing its services on a highly secure and controlled platform and providing a broad range of security features customers can use. The department’s responsibility includes configuring their IT environments in a safe and controlled manner for their purposes.”