China releases new cloud computing rule requiring safety assessment

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China has released a new guideline that aims to ensure the safety of using cloud services, specifically for users of the Party and government bodies, requiring cloud service operators to submit their platforms for a government assessment.

Why it matters: The move comes as the country sees growing cloud computing adoption in both private and public sectors. Regulators aim to drive adoption by lowering security risks associated with the technology, to encourage the migration of government affairs and data to cloud platforms.

Details: The guideline announced Monday was jointly issued by the China’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) along with the National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), and Ministry of Finance. As part of the new guideline, the CAC will conduct a “safety assessment” on cloud services platforms.

  • Platforms will be required to submit background information regarding their operations and their staff for screening purposes. The new guideline will come into effect on September 1.
  • The guideline aims to increase the safety of cloud computing services specifically for users of the Party, government bodies, and key information infrastructure operators.
  • The guideline requires cloud platforms that provide government-facing solutions to submit applications for cloud computing service safety assessment beginning in September. The assessment results will be valid for up to three years.
  • The assessment will focus on the credibility of operators and their overall operation, their technology, as well as the background of employees, among other aspects.

Context: Cloud computing is considered a core technology in China and the government has stated its commitment to support its development and adoption.

  • According to an action plan issued by the MIIT, the country’s target for cloud computing is to increase the scale of the industry more than 2.5 times by 2019 from 2015.
  • According to a report released by China Internet Network Information Center earlier this year, more than 90% of China’s provincial governments and 70% of city-level governments have established or are in the process of implementing cloud platforms.