Paris, Munich, Campos, December 1st 2008 – the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) released during the Open World Forum the first conclusions of its workgroup on Total Information Outsourcing (TIO). TIO is a recent trend in the management of corporate information systems which consists of outsourcing critical information infrastructure to Web based services. This creates new risks for Freedom and Competition. The FFII TIO workgroup has identified 7 rights that address these risks. If they are satisfied, outsourced software and data enjoys the same freedom and security that is available with in-house Open Source / Free Software solutions.
TIO is based on technologies known as Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Computing, Business Process Office (BPO), e-consulting, e-learning, Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Rogerio Atem de Carvalho, researcher at CEFET Campos (Brasil), explains: “Total Information Outsourcing (TIO) is a fantastic opportunity to bring the benefits of the most advanced software to companies and organisations which do not have enough resources to implement their own information system and would not consider using it otherwise.”
Bernard Lang, FFII France Board Member, adds: “The well known risks of proprietary software – such as vendor lock-in, intrusion, or data security – are exacerbated in the TIO context. Even though TIO services are often based on Open Source / Free Software, this is good for the provider but no longer enough to protect the user.”. “The FFII TIO workgroup been assessing these risks and the different solutions to circumvent them. The result is a list of 7 criteria on Service Level Agreements (SLA): 3 criteria for Customer Freedom and 4 criteria for Customer Loyalty.” says Jean-Paul Smets, FFII TIO work group leader and CEO of Nexedi.
The criteria for Customer Freedom are:
Data Freedom, i.e. the freedom to migrate all user data including configuration and logs to an infrastructure operated by any other party.
Software Freedom, i.e. the freedom to benefit from the same service on a standalone infrastructure operated by any other party using solely Open Source / Free Software made available by the provider.
Competition Freedom, the freedom to copy and provide the same service.
Jean-Paul Smets adds: “While the goals of traditional software freedom can be ascertained with these criteria, additional safeguards are required before TIO can provide the same guarantees in terms of reliability and security as regular staff or civil servants. This is where the final four criteria come into play.”.
Alberto Barrionuevo, president of FFII, concludes: “The FFII workgroup on Total Information Outsourcing (TIO) has highlighted 3 rights which must be preserved in order to protect Freedom on the Web Infrastructure: Data Freedom, Software Freedom and Competition Freedom. The TIO workgroup will progress and refine its criteria over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, FFII has published a draft list of TIO providers which respect the 3 freedoms. We encourage more companies and organisations to join this list to protect Freedom and Competition on the Web Infrastructure by implementing what will be called from now: TIO Libre.”
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About the FFII
The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in over fifty countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More than 850 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual property) in data processing.