Telecoms operators are in a position to capitalise on growing demand for cloud services, but in order to drive the market forward they need to win the confidence of business customers. One way for them to do that is by moving to a cloud environment internally, before offering similar services to others.

Conversations with business customers have changed over the past year or so as the cloud services market has matured, telco speakers at CommunicAsia on Tuesday agreed.

Customers are now more interested in the applications and the outcomes that the cloud can deliver, rather than the technology itself, said Nathan Bell, global director for products and marketing at Telstra International. There is also a greater focus on policy and regulation, especially in areas such as data sovereignty.

"That's something as a community we're going to have to get our heads round," he said.

Meanwhile, Nizam Arshad, vice president of group IT at Telekom Malaysia insisted that security remains the biggest issue in cloud services. Solving security issues "will take the cloud to the next level," he said. Until then, cloud services will be "siloed within the countries."

Arun Kundu, regional MD for global consulting and integration services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, agreed that security is still among the top three concerns for business customers.

"There's a chasm that we have to cross and that is trust," he said.

According to Bell, that chasm is more like "the Grand Canyon." His advice: "Build your own bridge first."

Telstra Global built an elastic IT environment in the cloud, he pointed out. "Your own people have to have that confidence" in cloud services before you can sell them to others, he said. Once you have done it yourself, "then you can start to build the bridge."

Telstra is not the only company practising what it preaches.

Telekom Malaysia is in the process of migrating to an internal IT cloud, a move it decided to make before selling cloud services to external customers.

The needs of internal and external customers are basically the same, explained Giorgio Migliarina chief technology and innovation officer at Telekom Malaysia.

One of the big issues when considering moving to a