The EU has jumped on the cloud bandwagon with the launch of its cloud-focused strategy, claiming it will boost EU GDP by about €160bn (£127.6bn) by 2020.
Entitled Unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe, the strategy is designed to speed up and increase the use of cloud computing across the region in what can only be a boon to the IT industry.
Key actions of the EU strategy – details of which are scant at the moment – include support for EU-wide certification schemes for trustworthy cloud providers; safe and fair contract terms for cloud computing contracts including SLAs; and a European Cloud Partnership with member states and industry to shape the European cloud market and deliver cheaper and better e-government.
EU vice president Neelie Kroes said: “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.”
In an interview with EU video station viEUws, Kroes said cloud computing could be “the answer for SMEs” and described it as “less costly, safe and very efficient”.
Viviane Reding, also an EU vice president, added: “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."
HP was quick to voice its support for the EU announcement.
Ian Brooks, European head of innovation and sustainable computing at HP, said: “HP supports the vision outlined by Neelie Kroes regarding a unified and consistent cloud computing strategy across Europe. A legal environment that is friendly to cloud innovation is essential for Europe’s economic growth, which includes the potential for two million new jobs by 2015.
“The European countries will not see the full benefits of this technology unless steps are taken to deal with the remaining barriers to its adoption and use.”
Brooks pointed to HP research revealing the top three barriers to cloud service adoption as security (35 per cent), transformation (33 per cent) and compliance (17 per cent). He explained the same survey showed that 80 per cent of business and technology executives believe cloud computing will be at least as disruptive to the technology landscape as virtualisation or the internet, while one in two CEOs and CFOs are setting cloud strategies for their organisations.
He concluded: “Clearly, business recognises cloud will be critical to driving successful outcomes and innovation. However, there is still some work to do in unlocking the benefits of it, and we therefore welcome the EU Commission’s sustained leadership in the region, and remain in continuous support of them in moving the issue forward.”
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