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Cloud Computing Uses for E-Government in the Middle East Region Opportunities and Challenges

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Abstract

This research paper seeks to investigate the cloud computing opportunities, challenges, and service models for e-government in the Middle East. For more than ten years now, the Internet alongside its correlated Web 2.0 applications have become instrumental to both businesses and consumers as it improves the day to day processes, communication and flow of information both within and with government institutions. A number of e-government services being utilized globally offer societies with comparatively sophisticated applications and services. To this end, government can even improve their web services on offer with the institution of a fiber-based broadband network. As it will be discussed herein, many governments in Middle East have identified the significance of IT in improving and sustaining their economy. The paper will introduce the topic and an overview of cloud computing in the Middle East, followed by the methodology. The literature review part will investigate the many researches done by other authors on the same topic. The facts gathered will then be analyzed and comparison done between Europe and Middle East with regards to the use of cloud computing for e-government before the conclusion and recommendation offered.
International Journal of Business and Management; Vol. 10, No. 4; 2015
ISSN 1833-3850 E-ISSN 1833-8119
Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education
60
Cloud Computing Uses for E-Government in the Middle East Region
Opportunities and Challenges
Naser N. ALMutairi1 & Shebaib Fahad Thuwaini1
1 Public Authority of Applied Education and Training, College of Business, Management Department, Kuwait
Correspondence: Naser Almutairi, Public Authority of Applied Education and Training, College of Business,
Management Department, Kuwait. Tel: 965-9666-6514. E-mail: kww666@yahoo.com
Received: August 25, 2014 Accepted: February 12, 2015 Online Published: March 27, 2015
doi:10.5539/ijbm.v10n4p60 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ijbm.v10n4p60
Abstract
This research paper seeks to investigate the cloud computing opportunities, challenges, and service models for
e-government in the Middle East. For more than ten years now, the Internet alongside its correlated Web 2.0
applications have become instrumental to both businesses and consumers as it improves the day to day processes,
communication and flow of information both within and with government institutions. A number of
e-government services being utilized globally offer societies with comparatively sophisticated applications and
services. To this end, government can even improve their web services on offer with the institution of a
fiber-based broadband network. As it will be discussed herein, many governments in Middle East have identified
the significance of IT in improving and sustaining their economy. The paper will introduce the topic and an
overview of cloud computing in the Middle East, followed by the methodology. The literature review part will
investigate the many researches done by other authors on the same topic. The facts gathered will then be
analyzed and comparison done between Europe and Middle East with regards to the use of cloud computing for
e-government before the conclusion and recommendation offered.
Keywords: cloud computing, technology, Middle East, government, software, malware, cyber
1. Introduction
As it will be discussed in this research paper, many governments in the Middle East have realized the
significance of IT in improving and sustaining their economies as well as having an effective infrastructure
where communication is fast so as to achieve such a goal. Consequently, numerous ICT initiative have been
undertaken, specifically within governments. Many of these countries are utilizing the advantage of the absence
of issues of legacy to make use of the latest technology and its infrastructure. Investment in IT, especially in
GCC countries, including the likes of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar have been tremendous. These governments
are keen enough to take their departments and services online as they seek to improve their infrastructure and
services to the people. For instance, the UAE has embarked on a number of e-applications that will fast track
government activities. As Ghaffari (2010) acknowledges in his research, cloud computing is the answer to the
increased power consumption and cost of data storage.
In view of this, cloud computing is one of the hottest research topics in universities and research centers in
relation to information technology (Hashemi et al., 2012). Before going into further details, what is cloud
computing really? National Institute of Standards and Technology defines cloud computing as the computer
networking that allows data storage and the delivery of information technology in a central place with online
access via computer services (Hashemi, 2012; Takabi et al., 2010). A very common and simple definition of
cloud computing is a scalable and capable instrument that is technologically enabled and is easily available on
the internet depending on the users’ demand (Hashemi, 2012; Takabi et al., 2010; Gidado et al., 2011; Ghazali et
al., 2011; Jamil et al., 2011). In cloud computing, all the computers are configured in such a way that all the
applications work collectively as if they are on the same system. Cloud computing has come to existence due to
the evolution and the development of technology (Keizer, 2009). Shared resources and the congregate
infrastructure is the foundation of cloud computing. The major components of cloud computing includes, the
network, a front end and a back end platform and a cloud based delivery, which form its architecture (Krissi,
2008).
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2. Literature Review
2.1 Characteristics and Components of Cloud Computing
A study done by Ghazali et al. (2011) notes that, it is important to comprehend the significance of the cloud’s
components and features, the use of the developed models and how to use cloud computing services so as to
know and accept cloud computing. According to the National Institute of Standards and technology, cloud
computing has five distinctive characteristics; resource pooling, wide network access, measured service, on
demand self-service, elasticity (Hashemi, 2012; Takabi et al., 2010; Gidado et al., 2011; Ghazali et al., 2011;
Jamil et al., 2011). In resource pooling, the main computer resources are gathered in a centralized place so as to
serve several users through a model that is multi-tenant and it possess different virtual and physical resources
which are assigned as well as reassigned in line with the customers’ demands.
Hashemi (2012) and Takabi et al. (2010) have defined four types of clouds. Also in his Master’s thesis, Sachdeva
(2011) depicts that there are public and private clouds; public cloud is for public use, specifically to those who
have access to web service, resources and application. On the other hand, private cloud as cloud applications that
can only be accessed by the individuals in an organization while barring the those out of the organization from
accessing them. According to Winkler (2011), community cloud is prepared and provides some common
resources and application made available. Hybrid cloud combines the private, public or community clouds and it
uses external and internal cloud service providers (Khawaja et al., 2012). Also in a study by Tong et al. (2012),
he notes that cloud computing has a wide network access where the capabilities and applications are made
available in the whole network and is easily accessed through thick and thin platforms such as the laptops,
mobile phones, tablets and workstations. Computer capabilities and applications are easily released and provided
according to the user demand which is available to the user in unlimited amount at any given time (Ristenpart et
al., 2009).
2.2 Components of Cloud Computing
According to research by Ferrer (2009), cloud computing comprises of two main components: the front end and
the back end, which get to be connected by the Internet. The back end refers to the cloud itself and it provides the
computers’ data storage, which develops the cloud’s services, servers and applications. The front end refers to
the medium through which the user accesses the system and it comprises of the various applications that users
use to access the clouds and a computer network. Hashemi (2012) and Takabi et al. (2010) present cloud services
in three models: infrastructure as service (IaaS), platform as service (PaaS), and software as service (SaaS). The
cloud has a virtual machine monitor (VMM) that allows simultaneous of the cloud’s applications. These layers
are the infrastructure layer, platform layer and the application layer. The infrastructure layer is the base of the
cloud which comprises of the network devices, the storage facilities and the servers. While using Infrastructure
as a Service (IaaS), the user has no control over the basic infrastructure other than the storage, operating systems,
some applications and network components.
The platform layer provides the application infrastructure. As Sachdeva (2011) notes, through the Platform as a
Service (PaaS), a user can access the operating systems and other services. PaaS provides the user with a
medium to deploy computer applications to the cloud by use of programming thus the user has control over the
deploying applications alone. The application layer is mostly seen as the cloud. All the applications go through
the application layer, which is provided by demand to the users (Hashemi, 2012; Takabi et al., 2010; Gidado et
al., 2011; Ghazali et al., 2011; Jamil et al., 2011; Khawaja et al., 2012; Winkler, 2011; Sachdeva, 2011). An
example of Software as a Service (SaaS) is Google Pack. Figure 1 shows the components of the cloud.
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Application SaaS
CRM, email, games, virtual desktop ,communication, games
Platform PaaS
execution runtime, database, web server, developmental tools
Infrastructure IaaS
Virtual machines ,servers ,storage, network ,load balancers
2.3 Challenges of Cloud Computing
In their research, Shravan et al. (2012) acknowledge that, for an e-government to be effective, it has to be
reliable, easy to maintain and economical, although Middle East countries are among the richest counties in the
world. Cloud has benefited millions of people because it has helped in closing the communication gaps among
the residents of remote areas. Nonetheless, e-government in the Middle East has come under economic, political
and social challenges (Parihar, 2011). Cloud computing challenges limit the governments’ effort for effective use
of e-government. According to Gopala et al. (2009) and Sheridan (2006), technical challenges such as system
integration, management policies, data scaling, disaster recovery, auditing, and replication are the most crucial,
but with cloud computing, there are tools and technology that simplifies and eases the challenges
Software as a Service (SaaS) has proved to be difficult in its implementation and usage. A user with a
computational need might be unable to find an appropriate application for his demand in the application layer, in
which case the user has to buy and install that particular software physically in the computers (Voith et al., 2010).
In cases where the venders allow the users to move to other new vendors, the user is charged a very high fee. It is
difficult for Softwares as a Service to obtain cheap hardware and open source applications. The attacks on shared
tenancy have increased by 24% in the past half a decade. Data from different users are stored in one particular
computer although it is hosted on different virtual machines. Virtual machine should run concurrently although
with no information of what other virtual machine is running.
Recently however, some researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology found out that one virtual
machine can be used to copy another virtual machine’s information by mapping the internal infrastructure of the
cloud (Ristenpart et al., 2009). Mapping the internal infrastructure of the cloud causes a data breach. From the
findings of the research, the world is made aware of the vulnerability of the cloud servers and how it could be
exploited by criminals. Cloud attackers are targeting the operations of the cloud users as they try to get
unauthorized access to information and data (Cloud Security Alliance, 2010). Various types of malwares that
cloud attackers are using to gain access to data. According to Keizer (2009), the attackers use the malware to
infect the servers in the cloud. After accessing unauthorized data, the malware hides the files and operating
systems from the users’ security programs and antivirus. The malware gives the attacker complete access to a
users’ data and they can manipulate it as if the owner is the one doing it.
Botnet is a malware that maximizes on the vulnerability of the system. It allows opening of backdoors by the
hackers without the authorized users’ knowledge. Most cyber criminals use botnet to abuse the cloud through
flooding the server with bogus messages, denying the authorized user access, cyber bullying or tying the system
up (Ferrer, 2009). Recently, it is rumored that the cloud could be the attackers’ launching pad where they can
launch brute force. A brute force is a strategy that can break encrypted data by trying password combinations of
decryption keys. When a user hosts his data with the cloud service providers, he entrusts confidential and a very
large amount of information to the providers. The risk of hosting such data to the cloud service providers is that
the rogue service providers mine the same data and resell it to the users’ who can be an individual, an
organization or a country, enemies of competition resulting to a leakage of data (Proofpoint, 2009). One an
enemy gets a country’s’ data, that country is vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
2.4 Future Trends in Cloud Computing
Most governments in the Middle East, especially Kuwait , Qatar, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates and Jordan, are
Cloud clients (Web browsers, mobile apps, thin clients)
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doing their best to promote cloud services to aid in daily activities that are in direct interaction with it citizens
(Layne, 2001). As Tamizi et al. (2003) and Shravan et al. (2012) acknowledge, e-government is a cloud service
that provides services to the citizens such as access to information which gives them an opportunity to participate
in the economic and social development of their country. Tamizi et al. (2003) and Parihar et al. (2011) define
e-government as the use of ICT to improve the effectiveness and efficiency, comparability of financial
information and transparency within and between the government and its citizens, subordinate organizations and
private sector. According to research by Sheridan (2006) and Gopala et al. (2009), e-government provides the
government with services such as digitization of tax information, records, collection and dissemination of data,
election process and its management.
With the continuing evolution of technology, it will reach a time when cloud computing will be so overwhelming
that it will have to retain just its computing name although it will be evolving as an approach to technology. The
cloud service providers have not yet found the perfect fit-for-fit and function for the whole demand market.
Because of this, there have been several occasion of failed cloud service of the lack of the software until installed
physically but in the near future technology will have developed to a point where all this applications will be
possible by just a click of a button (Guo et al., 2012). In time, centralized data will be of big advantage to the
users where many will gain the expertise to establishing databases in the cloud that cloud dispenses information
easily available such as wide range of clinical data that will ensure better health care. Devices such as mobile
phones, in their smaller and thinner size, will take over computers where they will contain all the computing
capabilities and application. With such mobile phones, the use of clouds will be closer and easily accessible than
ever (Tong et al., 2012).
2.5 The Significance of Cloud Computing to Governance in the Middle East
The increased desire of the Middle East region to increase their 24 hour all week services, communication and
report issues has strongly motivated many governments to invest in cloud computing. An example of the case in
Karnataka where centuries-old records for land registry are being digitalized (Weinman, 2012). The significance
of the above process is to eliminate corruption and inefficiencies by showing taxes owed and proof of ownership.
In fostering good service provision to Middle East citizens, the government of Karnataka uses the Bhoomi
project, meaning land, to make transparent records for better auditing by the local government and easy access to
information needed for effective service provision to residents. The eSeva is another initiative in Telangana state
that allows, direct payment of telephone bills, utility and municipality taxes by citizens from the state’s website
(Kling, n.d.).
3. Type of Applications Used by the Governments
3.1 Government to Government
This application involves the sharing of electronic information/data between organizations, government agencies
and departments, the aim being to improve communication, data sharing and data access. The Middle East just as
any other region within federal governments is driven by factors amongst, funding and budgeting of its citizens
and the Open Government Directive legislation. Through systems and information sharing, the Middle East
governments are able to reduce IT costs, streamlining procedures at government offices, citizens are also able to
access information using internet. Qualifications for funding and project grants are also fastened.
3.2 Government to Business
It refers to a non-commercial online interaction between commercial business sectors and the central and local
government rather than private individuals. The aim is to for the government to provide advice and business
information on governments best e-practices.
3.3 Government to Citizens
This refers to the communication link between the private residents or individuals and the government. It often
accentuates to the communication-taking place communication and information technologies (ICTs) but may
also involve media campaigns and direct mails. The cloud computing application can take place at the local level,
state or federal level.
3.4 Government to Employee
Similarly, this is an on-line interaction between the government and its employees. The application is an
instantaneous tool for communication that helps in educating employees on government plans, promoting
knowledge and bringing them together. It also provides the possibility of employees accessing information in
regard to benefits policies, compensation learning civil right laws and training opportunities. Software for
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maintaining records and personal information of employees is also included.
4. Methodology
As a methodology, this research paper seeks to gather information about cloud computing for e-government in
the Middle East mostly from previous studies, journals, and books on the same topic. I apply theories used by
Richard, et al. (2009), Probst and Raisch (2005) and Megicks (2001) in their works where they note that
government have embarked on e-government programs and services to enable exchange of information and
access to services such as land management, tax, e-health, electronic payment, e-procurement, and business
registration. Their theoretical framework is significant because the ICT sector in the Middle East region has been
on the rise significantly due to high rates of subscriptions, mobile data demand, and competition, thus the use of
cloud computing in e-government is significant. Using secondary research will enable this paper to gather a wide
variety of information from this topic. The advantage being that it is possible to analyze different researches and
thus come up with a viable conclusion and effective recommendations.
5. Analysis
5.1 Ways in Which the Middle East has Used Cloud Computing in E-Governance
Major commitments have been made by the Middle East government to reform and modernize government with
the aim of broadening access to services provided by the government, achieve greater efficiency and improve
service levels. The ultimate aim of e-governance is to centralize, seamlessly make government services cohesive
to its end-users.
5.2 Media
Middle East media companies are increasingly using cloud computing to boost revenues and as a means of
storing valuable on-line business information. The valuable technology allow media companies to share
information at any time as long as they have internet access. Investment of money in cloud-based businesses is
equally on the rise within the region. The traditional computer sharing of data has since faced off and the result
has seen media companies save money on maintenance and equipment costs. Purchase of media software and
hardware is also done electronically in most media houses.
A case of Dubai where media technology experts hold seminars to plan and discuss ways of strengthening
e-broadcasting has generated great profit to their companies. Data has been moved to more virtual environments
that has helped address various concerns on safety. Proper backing up of business information for easy recovery
during any disaster has proved efficient. The remarkable progress has been realized by various media companies
such as Etisalat, which is based at Abu Dhabi, the aforesaid signed a cloud agreement with Huawei to strengthen
their profit margin and customer base. The two companies are planning a partnership of providing more
innovative technologies that also includes computing services. Amazon.com has also opened an annual start-up
challenges that allows businesses emerging from the Middle East to compete for cash that tunes to 100,000 US
dollars. The latter is meant for credit and cash to be used for cloud computing services. One condition of
eligibility for start-ups is to describe their business plans and demonstrate ways in which cloud computing
services are factoring in their eligibility.
5.3 Disaster Recovery and Management
The leading technology firm, Edarat Group in the Middle East and the Gulf region has recently partnered with
Evault, their main aim is to support the capability of companies in Saudi Arabia and those in United Arab
Emirates protect valuable data. The mechanism involves use of advanced project management techniques hence
managing over 200 projects every year. The companies provide its regional users various Cloud Disaster
Recovery services that are encrypted as Evault. The data recovery aims at virtual, secure cloud based
environment. Both the private and public sector, has over the past few years, offered a strong corporative effort
expanding the quantity of quality online services. The result has since encouraged various ICT communities to
focus on diversifying and modernizing their local economies within their corresponding infrastructure.
The assessment of international players and regional market led to selection of EVault by Edarat due to its
affirmed leadership in delivering disaster recovery services. Replication of the data managed to a top-tier
network was very important to Edarat whereas, the Edarat customers were more concerned on the ability of
EVault to provide them with en-to end encryption that would ensure their data always remained private and can
comply with various regulatory requirements. The forester wave supported the decision, later named as
Disaster-Recovery aimed at Service Provision, Q1 2014. EVault CDR has supported for the first time in the
United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia (Marks & Lozano, 2010). The regional dispersion of state-or-art
infrastructure in Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia users are currently able to outsource to Edarat their DR.
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Edarat further sponsored Evault at their 9th yearly Datacenter Dynamics Converged in Dubai, The conference
was well attended by over 28,000 data center professionals.
5.4 Policy
Middle East governments have developed modern suite of laws that strongly facilitate and support cloud
computing and the digital economy. Saudi Arabia for example, has in place comprehensive privacy legislation
besides intellectual property laws that are relevant to cloud computing. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates
have also developed data protection laws with independent privacy commissioners. The developments are
significant to cloud users, owing to confidentiality. The users can now fully accept and adopt the cloud
computing with confidence that stored private information stored wherever in the world is likely not to be
disclosed by in unexpected ways by the cloud providers. Predictability of National privacy regimes are aimed at
transparency and avoidance of unnecessarily burdensome cloud service providers restrictions. Example, being
data controller’s registration requirements and data transfers across border.
Cloud providers in the Middle East are consequently encouraged by experts to establish effective privacy
policies, that can appropriately be used for cloud service and various business models they use. A case in point is
the policy intended to gain ministerial approvals. The approval for privately-protected information is only
processed or stored in any offshored and outsourced arrangements with pre-approvals. The pre-approvals are
only done relevant portfolio ministers and sometimes the minister responsible for overseeing security and
privacy that involves government information. Of special concern is, assessment of security risks. Agencies in
the Middle East are helped to perform the aforesaid by a cloud security policy that adequately assesses security
risks. To ensure the government reduces storage costs and take advantage of cloud computing, Saudi Arabia has
initiated external storage and data processing that reside in well-secured and protected domains.
5.5 Security
The Middle East governments have a wide initiative that provides security monitoring services and joint
authorizations to its citizens based on cloud computing foundation. The IT systems are managed in such a way to
ensure comprehensive government-wide risk management. The approach include: integrated vetted approach,
and applying federal security requirements consistently. The government allows its agencies to use leverage
authorizations, reviewing security details, securing agency usage requirements and leveraging existing
authorization. The Authorities dealing with security create requirements that incorporate government-wide
baseline to be integrated, developed and approved. The government intelligence coordinate authorization
packages provide continuous oversight monitoring and authorize security packages (Chuan, n.d.). Cloud Security
Alliance organizations are closely linking with the Middle East governments to make concerted efforts that will
use of best practices aimed at providing security assurance within cloud computing
5.6 Procurement
To assist the Middle East government agencies and industry capability, commercial services are provided and
transacted over an established website application. The purpose of e-procurement is to provide simple and easy
ways to research, find, and procure commercial government services and products. Agencies and citizens can
search for e-product categories using the software as service application (SaaS), make price quotes, product
descriptions and links to more product, and service information. Government procurement is also supported
using vehicles such as GSA advantage or GSA Schedule. Information on Apps.Gov are no-cost applications with
‘government friendly’ agreements of Terms of Service, obtained on social media. Users only have to hit the
button SEND REQUEST, and they get a link to a social media coordinator agency who help them complete the
request needed to use the tool in compliance with social media policy of the agency. Consequently, cloud based
infrastructural service are supported by cloud PMO that works closely with the Federal Acquisition Service. FAS
is mandated by the Middle East government to primarily operate on-line acquisition of government-wide use
available services and products. Kuwait's Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) is pondering the
use of cloud computing for storing data at government bodies, linking them in one system, seeking to upgrade
the e-government.
5.7 Military
The middle east governments such as Kuwait has established a data network that links over 56 governmental
bodies, sharing electronic documents and data at a very high speed. The aim of using cloud computing is for easy
data recalling and storage. A case of Kuwait cloud computing was established in 2006 and has achieved several
projects involving data infrastructure that are needed to develop e-government that incorporates relevant official
bodies. There also exist big Data military conferences and exhibitions that includes workshops involving
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renowned worldwide IT specialists, their role is to brief the government and participants from big local
companies and official bodies on latest improvements and development s in cloud computing.
6. Comparison of Use of Cloud Computing by Other Governments in Providing E-Governance
Most countries in the Middle East have increasingly acknowledging cloud computing and cloud projects through
their various publications and guidance. However, some member states have no or rather very little guidance in
e-government and cloud computing. Czech- Republic for example, public authorities have not managed to
publish any guidance despite showing interest in cloud computing. The state’s interest is reflected in their
strategic document that was issued by the Czech Republic entitled Road to Digital Economy. In Finland, the
situation is similar with minimal guidance that concerns specifically cloud computing. The Finish authorities
have only published questions that relate closely to provision of cloud services, example is outsourcing
processing of individual data.
The situation in the United Kingdom is interesting since, there exist no specific cloud computing guideline, but
public authorities have been very active in publishing ICO Guidelines that are however only limited to data
protection. Poland have a publication famous as the Finance Supervision Commission that was adopted in
January 2013. The guideline is however just on specific finance project rather than general cloud computing
guidance. The finance Supervision commission helps in environmental security and management of information
technology in credit institutions and banks operating in the Polish market (Uden, 2013).
In Germany, The federation for Security and Agency in Information Technology was published in 2012 February.
However, there exists no binding guidance document by German industries on cloud computing. The Italian
Digital Agency, that is also the Italian public authority regarded as competent for digitalization of the Italian
government, provided relating documents that helps in adoption of the cloud computing by Italian public
authorities. An example is the features aiming at electronic systems digitalization in the public administration. It
captures the possible cloud services that are to be adopted by the public administration, e-government
architectural framework, cloud computing role of public administration, “OpenStack” project description as
public administration acceptable standards, Public administration data centers cloud services. Interoperability,
conformity, security management, requirements of resilience in public administration cloud computing and the
classes of services.
Finally, very few countries have provided general guidance that is destined to its citizens and private entities.
Examples of such countries include, Belgium. The Federal Public Economy in Belgium has published a cloud
computing study that is entitled the “Economic opportunity for Belgium”. The strategy offers a standard
definition of cloud computing, explores and the legal framework necessary for cloud computing. In France,
Similarly, The Information and Network Security Agency that was published in 2010, outsources information
systems on cloud computing.
The Agency for Digitalization in Denmark has several papers and guides on cloud computing including that on
initiatives of cloud audit assurance, new security models that are digitalized, and cloud legal framework and
computing policies. Finally, Spaniards ‘public authorities have a National Interoperability Framework that sets
out the responsibilities, guidelines and principles in preservation and exchange of electronic information used by
the public administration. The circulated guide for cloud security and privacy of companies in 2011 has different
cloud computing levels, means of deploying services, and the legal reference frameworks. It is important to look
at the main components and implications regarding privacy and security and the keys that will ensure success for
usage of cloud computing services.
6.1 Significance of Cloud Computing to International E-Governance
E-governance provides a wide opportunity for serving citizens efficiently. ICT has potentially lots of advantages
in the governance of any organization with enough efforts of building infrastructure, changing process and
capacity enhancement .Increased technology generalization access by organizations and citizens present
expectation and government demand. Governments are however very proactive in the cloud computing domain
by examining its application, new ways of improving services, interaction and optimizing processes. Cloud
computing is likely to prove an ideal solution to the many challenges faced by e-governments from development
to implementation. Case studies of e-governance in some international organizations are discussed below:
6.2 European Union
The advancement of cloud computing services has advanced communication technologies in the EU. The
development of innovative new large-scale business models has enhanced high- speed communications. The EU
public authorities have adequately positioned themselves in adopting the new revolution in technology.
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Consequently, cloud computing is well acknowledged by authorities in EU and its member states. The EU
framework of digital agenda developed in September 2012 has particularly revealed the great interest in cloud
computing. The strategy for unleashing cloud potential in Europe was adopted by the European Commission.
The strategy has resulted in adequate analysis of regulatory and overall policy technologies and landscape.
EU has encouraged use of cloud computing across all of its economic sectors. The key actions identified as
urgent additional actions include: fair and safe contract conditions and terms, cutting through standards’ jungles
and establishing a partnership of European cloud. The parliament adopted a resolution following EU
Commission of 2012 Strategy, based on the various EU existing instruments and digital agenda in the field of IT.
Importantly, it presents the main challenges while examining various issues amongst: cloud as employment and
growth instrument, the EU cloud and market, standards, of innovative solutions and public procurement, the
cloud and consumer, civil law and intellectual property, law enforcement, fundamental rights and data protection.
Finally, the publishing of other recent documents by EU Commission show correlation to cloud computing
included is the Staff Working Report in 2014 that presents the cloud computing potential in Europe procurement.
6.3 NATO
The partnership by IBM in cloud computing implementation system has helped streamline the data collection by
the NATO 28 member international alliance. The United States Federal government has already implemented
cloud computing that helps them in military simulation developments, storage and collection of large amounts of
data over stipulated time, and IT process stimulation. The private sector however, has implemented cloud
computing to assist minimize energy expense, speeding up technological system development and improving
their customer service (Rountree & Castrillo, 2013). NATO’s solutions for surveillance, intelligence and
reconnaissance among its 28 nations, has been developed by sue of cloud computing.
6.4 UN
The millennium development goals are among cloud computing related endeavors. The aim is to help end
extreme poverty by set eight targets worldwide in 2015. The efforts can be achieved through cloud
implementation of recommendations by the UN Communication and Information Task Force. Cloud computing
in UN is about localizing of e-governance for efficiency globally. Flexible and efficient opportunities, through
cloud computing are distributed globally for social and economic stimulus (Talke, Salomo, & Kock, 2011).
7. Conclusion
In more ways than one, cloud computing has really help the Middle East countries not only in governance but in
development as a region. Population growth and use of the internet in the Middle East has increased the demand
and use of cloud computing making the development of the region raise due to their poise in the reliability and
security of the cloud. Governments have already started e-government projects and in the next few years, citizen
will have a personalized government portal (www.dubai.ae), Smart-ID card, development of e-government
infrastructure, deployment of digital signature and upgrading of government websites with web 2.0 features.
Cloud computing in the Europe and Middle East countries involves the sharing of electronic information/data
between organizations, government agencies and departments, the aim being to improve communication, data
sharing and data access. They are driven by factors amongst, funding and budgeting of its citizens and the Open
Government Directive legislation. Through systems and information sharing, the Middle East and European
governments are able to reduce IT costs, streamlining procedures at government offices, citizens are also able to
access information using internet. Qualifications for funding and project grants are also fastened. Unlike Middle
East cloud computing in Europe has no specific guidelines but their public authorities have been very active in
publishing ICO Guidelines that are however only limited to data protection. Unlike Europe, Middle East
government agencies, and commercial services are provided and transacted over an established website
application. The purpose of e-procurement is to provide simple and easy ways to research, find, and procure
commercial government services and products.
8. Recommendations
While the adoption of cloud computing in the Middle East is expected to continue rising as people adopt the very
latest of technologies, a lack of effective services and reliable vendors is hampering this process, thus something
needs to be done with regards to this aspect. Public cloud is yet to be adopted largely because there is a lack of
established and reliable vendors.
Another challenge that rocks the region is the shortage of skills in IT. The IT environment in the Middle East is
changing rapidly yet the number of the right personnel and talent to deal with the surging numbers is low.
Therefore, governments need to invest in the right personnel from their regions.
www.ccsenet.org/ijbm International Journal of Business and Management Vol. 10, No. 4; 2015
68
The IT sector as a whole also needs investment from everyone and not just the governments. Smalls businesses
also need to be involved to ensure that everyone is part and parcel of the process.
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