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UK government invests £5m to remove barriers to cloud computing

Interoperability, resilience of data and identity assurance are the big issues to overcome

Thirteen business-led research and development projects that aim to address the business and technology challenges hindering the adoption of cloud computing are to share £5 million of government support.

According to the the UK's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), interoperability, resilience of data and identity assurance are the three overarching issues that present a challenge to adoption for many organisations.

The projects selected for funding will demonstrate how new or improved value chains and networks can be created, and show where value can be increased by offering innovative information, content and services in the cloud.

"The market for cloud computing services is growing by 26% each year. It is an area with exceptional potential for growth. Finding the correct balance between trust and flexibility, without compromising security, is vital," said Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board.

"Through this support we aim to help UK suppliers of cloud infrastructure and outsourced IT services to work together on the challenges that are holding-back the adoption of cloud computing, in order to capture a bigger share of this expanding market."

Ten collaborative R&D projects - led by Arjuna Technologies, BAE Systems, BBC, Building Research Establishment, Jaguar Land Rover (two projects), MobiBiz, Smoke and Mirrors Productions, Telefnica UK and Worknet - will share grant awards totalling £4.74 million.

Meanwhile, three 'fast-track' projects, lasting up to 12 months, will each receive up to £75,000. These will be led by AIMES Grid Services CIC, Metrarc and ThinkingSafe.

Royal Holloway University is a member of the consortium led by ThinkingSafe, and will be involved in a project to make information storage more secure for people using cloud computing.

The organisation expects that the project will create a blueprint for data protection in the cloud and, as a result, allow the UK to become a major exporter of cloud services.

"This project holds important implications for the future of cloud computing, because it addresses the pressing need to create a demonstrably trustworthy framework for protecting user data in the cloud," said Allan Tomlinson from the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway.

The project will build on existing products and services developed by ThinkingSafe, which is developing big data analytics to pinpoint information theft and leakage, using intelligent agents to monitor and control the flow of information within and across organisational boundaries.


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