Governments and Cloud Computing: Roles, Approaches, and Policy Considerations


Governments from Bogota to Beijing are engaging with emerging cloud computing technologies and its industry in a variety of overlapping contexts. Based on a review of a representative number of advanced cloud computing strategies developed by governments from around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, and Japan, we observed that these governments – mostly implicitly – have taken on several different “roles” with respect to their approaches to cloud computing. In particular, we identify six distinguishable but overlapping roles assumed by governments: users, regulators, coordinators, promoters, researchers, and service providers. In this paper, we describe and discuss each of these roles in detail using examples from our review of cloud strategies, and share high-level observations about the roles as well as the contexts in which they arise. The paper concludes with a set of considerations for policymakers to take into account when developing approaches to the rapidly evolving cloud computing technologies and industry.

By Urs Gasser and David O'Brien
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