New industry association to raise Canada’s cloud profile

In light of recent privacy scares in the U.S., the Canada Cloud Network (CCN) is pushing to make Canada a cloud computing destination – and at the same time, it’s boosting its profile as a new industry association.

With the recent blitz of stories about Edward Snowden, the U.S. National Security Agency, and PRISM, the CCN is hoping to brand Canada as both a viable alternative and “the world’s safe haven” for data in the cloud.

Neil McEvoy, founder of the Canada Cloud Network.
Neil McEvoy, founder of the Canada Cloud Network.

“There’s really no reason why some customers who have legitimate security concerns in hosting couldn’t come here and make use of that expertise,” says Neil McEvoy, founder of the CCN. McEvoy also founded the Cloud Best Practices Network, a virtual consultancy that promotes different ways of migrating to the cloud.

“It’s like look, you know, ta-da. Let’s showcase what Canada has to offer the world. It’s really quite powerful,” he adds.

The CCN has only been around since May 2011. At the time, it was still just a virtual organization, but McEvoy says it now has enough clout to become an industry association.

And to promote the cloud computing industry, in Canada, he says he believes there’s a need for an organization like the CCN. One role it would have would be to tackle issues like government regulation.

For example, in Canada, there are no laws indicating companies need to tell their customers if there’s been a data breach in their records. That could turn away potential international customers, but an industry association may be able to explore regulatory, legal, and technical areas around that, McEvoy says.

There’s also some keen international competition out there, with other countries also vying for foreign individuals and companies to host cloud data on their turf. For example, some European countries like Sweden have very open laws around the Internet, which may prove attractive. Canada needs to beat its own drum if it wants to compete, and McEvoy sees that as an opportunity for the CCN to come in.

“Me and the other guys involved, we’re all pretty much veterans of this industry, so we can punch pretty hard above our weight in terms of getting our messages out there,” he says, adding he’s been working in Web hosting for years. His first foray into that field was in 1997, when he helped grow PSINet Inc.’s presence in Europe.

He adds the goal of the CCN is to bring together a community of companies that provide cloud services, companies who host data in the cloud, and lawyers who are privacy experts in cloud technologies. For example, the CCN has developed a forum called “Cloud Privacy by Design,” which shares ideas on best practices in cloud computing. The forum takes its cues from work by Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian.

With a focus on supporting R&D and innovation, it plans to spend the next few months fundraising.

The CCN hopes to open an office in Toronto sometime next year.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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