Insurers Join Push for Cloud Data Standards
Insurance Experts' Forum, July 12, 2011
Amid all the talk we hear about established and developing data standards in the insurance industry, a new player has emerged to push for such standards related to adoption and use of cloud technology.
The Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC), according to the group’s web site, is “an end user advocacy group dedicated to accelerating cloud’s successful adoption, and drilling down into the standards, security and interoperability issues surrounding the transition to the cloud. The Council is not a standards organization, but will complement existing cloud standards efforts and establish a core set of client-driven requirements to ensure cloud users will have the same freedom of choice, flexibility, and openness they have with traditional IT environments.”
The CSCC says it will “separate the hype from the reality on how to leverage what customers have today and how to use open, standards-based cloud computing to extend their organizations.” CSCC is managed by the Object Management Group (OMG), an international, open membership, not-for-profit computer industry standards consortium.
CSCC, the group says, is dedicated to accelerating cloud's successful adoption, and drilling down into the standards, security and interoperability issues surrounding the transition to the cloud.
What is particularly encouraging about this promotional enterprise is that two of the most powerful reasons to reject the cloud will at least be addressed—security and interoperability. At the recent IASA Educational Conference and Business Show, participants in the IT Town Hall session pointed to these factors as roadblocks to greater adoption of cloud technology in the insurance industry. Data security is a particularly difficult issue where sensitive data is stored and/or manipulated off-site, and there is no question that we in insurance deal with a whole lot of sensitive and confidential information.
The interoperability question is also a vexing one, since many in the insurance industry still utilize legacy equipment and software that just won’t go away as long as it still works to some extent. Any strategy that hopes to succeed in the insurance sector must take this reality into account if it is to succeed. Thus, the push to promote cloud adoption, at least in our industry, must be a backward-looking as well as a forward-looking initiative.
The Council says it will “provide cloud users with the opportunity to drive client requirements into standards development organizations and deliver materials such as best practices and use cases to assist other enterprises.” In the case of insurance, that might mean some joint development efforts with ACORD.
At the moment, CSCC boasts several insurance companies and insurance technology vendors among its members, including Aetna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Chubb & Sons, CSC, IBM, and Sapiens Technologies Inc.
Cloud computing is an attractive prospect, but not an easy sell for our industry. It should be interesting to see how these efforts develop.
Ara C. Trembly (www.aratremblytechnology.com) is the founder of Ara Trembly, The Tech Consultant, and a longtime observer of technology in insurance and financial services.
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