• A POSTnote on cloud and edge computing will look at the current role of cloud computing and the benefits it provides.
  • It will explore security, resilience and data ownership concerns.
  • It will examine how Brexit might effect cloud computing in the UK and how the UK can remain competitive
  • In production: To contribute evidence, literature or as an external reviewer please email Jonathan Cully.

Cloud computing describes a paradigm in which computational work is centralised, with individual users having on-demand and shared access to the resources that they require. However, the increasing utilisation of data-driven systems is driving a need for powerful local computation at the edge of the network. This note will assess current cloud technologies, the directions in which they are evolving and the regulatory implications of widespread use of cloud and edge computing.

Cloud computing has become ubiquitous in public and private use over the last decade with the prevalence of mobile devices, networked sensors and the migration of information online. Cloud computing enables central management of computational and data resources which can then be provided as a service to users as and when they are needed. This allows for efficient and flexible management of computing resources, and for convenient and economic access to shared and high-end computing. Despite the many benefits, centralised and often international cloud networks may raise issues over data residency and governance.

Additionally, the ever-expanding number of networked devices and sensors and the sheer volume of data that needs to be transmitted between them is putting stresses on cloud infrastructure. This has catalysed the development of edge computing, where powerful devices are placed at the edge of the network enabling local and in real-time data processing and leaving the cloud for the more demanding computation and end-point data storage. Exploitation of the full benefits of cloud and edge computing will rely on a robust cloud infrastructure, strong security measures and a skilled workforce to operate these technologies.

A POSTnote on this topic will look at the current role of cloud computing and the benefits it provides. It will consider what large scale cloud adoption means for security, resilience and data ownership. What technical developments are happening in cloud and edge computing and what is driving them. How we address data traceability and authenticity in edge systems. What the privacy and social issues around cloud and edge computing are. What effect Brexit will have on these issues. And finally, how the UK can remain competitive in this rapidly evolving industry.