EC launches cloud computing strategy

The European Commission has released details of a cloud computing strategy that it claims will create 2.5 million jobs and boost EU GDP to the tune of €160bn annually by 2020. The Commission’s plan for “Unleashing the potential for cloud computing in Europe” is intended to speed the uptake of cloud services in the region, according to Neelie Kroes, EU vice president for the digital agenda.

“Cloud computing is a game-changer for our economy,” said Kroes in a statement. “Without EU action, we will stay stuck in national fortresses and miss out on billions in economic gains. We must achieve critical mass and a single set of rules across Europe. We must tackle the perceived risks of cloud computing head-on.”

The Commission believes that the absence of common standards and contracts is dissuading enterprises from embracing cloud services, with fears around the safety of internal and customer data paramount. A proposed European Strategy for Cyber Security is to be put forward “in the coming months”, the Commission said.

The Commission said that key actions of the cloud strategy include:

“Cutting through the jungle of technical standards so that cloud users get interoperability, data portability and reversibility; necessary standards should be identified by 2013;

Support for EU-wide certification schemes for trustworthy cloud providers;

Development of model ‘safe and fair’ contract terms for cloud computing contracts including Service Level Agreements;

A European Cloud Partnership with Member States and industry to harness the public sector’s buying power (20 per cent of all IT spending) to shape the European cloud market, boost the chances for European cloud providers to grow to achieve a competitive scale, and deliver cheaper and better eGovernment.”