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Interoperability in the Cloud Sector

Many argue that large technology companies have too much power in the digital marketplace, and the remedy is to make systems interoperable and data portable. Policymakers have expressed interest in making Big Tech more interoperable, and several bills have been introduced in Congress with this intent. For cloud service providers (CSPs), this presents a challenge. Several large tech companies indeed lead the market. It is also true that these providers already promote interoperability and portability. In fact, most businesses use more than one cloud provider, and these cloud providers must continually develop their offerings to support interoperability and portability to meet customer needs.

This report will provide several resources for consideration. First, we will review the basics of cloud computing and describe the common business models in the sector. This will help frame the benefits and challenges of a mandated interoperability and portability regime. Second, we will review the evolution of interoperability in the cloud, examining the work by civil society groups in developing standards and protocols. Third, we will review the current national and international policy landscape for cloud providers. Finally, we will discuss the regulatory approaches and their trade-offs, and what is next for interoperability and portability.

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