Kroes claims cloud computing could boost EU GDP by 160 billion euros
Europe must achieve “critical mass” and set up common rules to facilitate cloud computing, the EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said.
According to the EU executive body, the European Commission, cloud computing could be a “game changer” for the troubled economy of the European Union where a 45 billion euro investment in cloud technology can deliver almost a trillion euros in GDP and create almost 4 million jobs by 2020.
Kroes challenged Europe to “think big” but pointed out that Europe can only take advantage of the internet technology to remotely store data and applications if it got the policies right. "But this can only happen, if we get the policies right," Kroes warned. "Today, many potential users think it's too complicated, too risky and too untrustworthy."
Key actions of the 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% 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.
Today, in the absence of common standards and clear contracts, many potential users are deterred from adopting cloud solutions. They are not sure what standards and certificates they should look for to meet their requirements and legal obligations, for example to ensure that their own or their customers' data is safe or that applications are interoperable. Cloud providers and users are also looking for clearer rules when it comes to the delivery of cloud services, for example regarding the question where legal disputes will be resolved or how to make sure that it will be easy to move data and software between different cloud providers.
Vice-President Viviane Reding said: "Europe needs to think big. The cloud strategy will enhance trust in innovative computing solutions and boost a competitive digital single market where Europeans feel safe. That means a swift adoption of the new data protection framework which the Commission proposed earlier this year and the development of safe and fair contract terms and conditions."