Ireland introduces cloud computing standards

May 22, 2012

With issues such as cloud security and adoption strategies standing in the way of many companies' migration to the cloud, the government of Ireland has announced a set of standards to aid with the technological shift, according to the Irish Times.

Richard Bruton, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, announced the "SWiFT 10" guide as a support to companies in their move to the cloud. According to TechCentral Ireland, Bruton views cloud computing as a sector that "Ireland has competitive advantages and potential to foster growth," and by helping to move more businesses to the cloud as soon as possible, the country will gain a market advantage.

EU data concerns
Ireland has made waves in the technology world recently thanks to its strict auditing of Facebook's privacy protection policies, according to ZD Net. The social media giant has five subsidiaries in the country.

The forthcoming data protection directive from the EU - of which Ireland is a member - may further complicate the presence of companies, like Facebook, that deal with personal data, according to PC Advisor UK. EU data policies in their current form already put a lot of pressure on multinational corporations.

Improving the economy
Despite some companies' concerns about data security in the cloud, one area that Bruton hopes the technology will help the struggling economy of Ireland is with smaller businesses - not just the large corporations that have moved operations to Ireland.

"This is an important move by the government to help increase the numbers of Irish businesses, small and large, who successfully adopt the cloud," Bruton told the website. "I am determined that over the coming months we will continue delivering these measures on time so that we can achieve the growth in the economy and in employment that we need."

Irish tax haven
The Irish technology sector has grown substantially, thanks to lower taxes and breaks for many corporations. Apple's subsidiary in Ireland allowed the company to save 22.5 percent on patent royalties - Ireland taxes corporations, at 12 percent while the United States does so at 35 percent - by transferring the money within the company, according to the New York Times. The newspaper also reports that Ireland offered tax breaks to Apple in exchange for jobs, allowing Apple to build a factory in Cork.

Facebook has its European headquarters in Dublin, while companies like Google and Microsoft have also used Ireland to reduce the amount of taxes paid. While some companies stimulate job growth in the country, others are no more than mailbox subsidiaries that allow further shifting of funds into tax-free locations like the Cayman Islands, according to the Irish Times.

-McAfee Cloud Security