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September 27, 2012

European Union Outlines Cloud Computing Strategy

While Europe has lagged behind in cloud adoption, the European Union this week has outlined a new strategy designed to speed up and increase the use of cloud computing across the region.

The European Commission’s new strategy for “unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe” specifies actions that would ultimately have the goal of adding a net gain of 2.5 million new European jobs by 2020.

“Cloud computing is a game-changer for our economy. 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,” EU VP Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

Key goals 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 percent of all IT spending) to shape the European cloud market, boosts the chances for European cloud providers to grow to achieve a competitive scale, and deliver cheaper and better eGovernment.

“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,” said EU VP Viviane Reding.

Adding, “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.”

In related news, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) found that worldwide, including the U.S., only 34 percent of consumers are using the cloud. And when just Europe is considered, cloud usage is much lower, closer to 24 percent of people. 65 percent of Europeans say that they have never heard of “the cloud.”

 “Unfortunately, most computer users in the EU have little understanding of cloud computing and have not yet moved to capitalize on the opportunities cloud computing offers,” said Robert Holleyman, president of the BSA. “The true benefits of cloud computing come with scale. In a global economy, you should be able to get the technology you need for personal or business use from servers located anywhere in the world. But that requires laws and regulations that let data flow easily across borders. Right now, too many countries have too many different rules standing in the way of the kind of trade in digital services we really need.”

Want to learn more about cloud communications? Then be sure to attend Cloud Communications Expo, collocated with ITEXPO Austin 2012 taking place Oct 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at Cloud Communications Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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