Tagging Data For Exchange

Tagging Data For Exchange

As the Executive Director of the Asia Cloud Computing Association, May-Ann Lim works with a number of the largest cloud service providers in the region, dealing with all sorts of different issues. The association’s mission is to be the voice of the technology community and accelerate the adoption of cloud computing in the APAC region.

As an independent body, the ACCA’s membership includes major companies such as Microsoft, Cisco and EMC. From the Australian side, Telstra is a member as well as other regional telcos. Members of the ACCA meet every quarter, with meetings rotating between different cities in the region.

Lim told us the vendors that are members of the ACCA find that their most challenging issue is communicating exactly what ‘cloud’ means in the market.

“For the first couple of years it was always about what is ‘cloud’ and helping customers make assessments about vendors. Right now, that has moved on to what they should be using cloud for”.

The ACCA is working more closely with industry verticals as well, releasing reports and studies into the use of cloud in different industry verticals such as finance and pharmaceuticals.

One of the key areas the group used to focus on was data sovereignty. But, over time that discussing moved from the issue of sovereignty to the broader issue of data governance.

“It’s about cross-border data flows; how do you enable that” How do you lubricate it?” says Lim.

One of the interesting projects the group is working towards is establishing a communication protocol that tags data. Lim says it’s similar to the priority tag on email. By tagging fields appropriately, it may be possible to make it clear that when data moves how each field needs to be treated. For example, some fields can be tagged as “must not leave country” while others can be tagged as being handled under specific jurisdictional rules.

Whether this will be broadly adopted remains to be seen. It’s been done within industry verticals within a country with great success – the retail electricity industry has its own XML schema for exchanging data between metering data companies, retailers and distributors. But whether it can work across geographical borders remains a challenge.

The author of this article travelled to Singapore to attend the RSA Conference as a guest of RSA.