GENEVA, Dec. 3 -- For the developing countries to benefit from cloud computing, massive data processing hardware, extensive broadband infrastructure, as well as related laws and regulations are required, according to a report released by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Tuesday.
The report, entitled Information Economy Report 2013: the Cloud Economy and Developing Countries, showed that cloud computing offers the potential for enhanced efficiency, for example small enterprises could use it to outsource some of the information technology skills that they would otherwise have to provide internally and companies can benefit from greater storage and computing capacity.
But the report also noted that low- and middle-income countries are confronted with challenges in benefiting from cloud computing. By mentioning that the scope for cloud adoption in low- and middle-income countries is much smaller than it is in more advanced economies, the study stressed that the gap in availability of cloud-related infrastructure between developed and developing countries keeps widening, and the access to affordable broadband Internet is still far from satisfactory in developing nations, especially in the least developed countries (LDCs).
The report pointed out a problem of growing "data centre divide" between developed and developing economies, saying that on one hand, developed economies currently account for as much as 85 percent of all data centers offering collocation services, and on the other, the availability of servers is uneven: in 2011 there were some 1,000 times more secure data servers per million inhabitants in high-income economies than in LDCs.
It concluded that the combination of few national data centers and high costs for international broadband communications further weighs on the net value of relying on cloud services.
The report suggested developing countries to promote the infrastructure construction and also the ways to mobilize financial resources, and developed partners to provide support at the country level via contributions to the financing of cloud-related infrastructure.
It also urged the developing countries to consider addressing legal and regulatory concerns related to cloud computing and enforce appropriate laws and regulations, saying that the key reform areas include privacy, data protection, information security and cyber crime.