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28 September 2012 | Adam Leach
European Union member states should pool spend on cloud computing technology to invest in finding cheaper, more effective solutions for the public sector.
The strategy, published yesterday by the European Commission (EC), identified a number of actions member states could take to speed up both adoption and development of cloud technologies. It said that while it has been widely adopted for consumer applications, such as Facebook and Spotify, progress among business users has been slower and the EU should do what it can to support development.
The EC is pushing the strategy because of the lower cost base associated with cloud technology. It called on member states to club together and provide the demand required to incentivise business and technology companies to develop effective and secure cloud solutions for the public sector. It recommended that a ‘European Cloud Partnership’ be established which pooled all member states’ spend to enable governments to get economies of scale, while at the same time providing sufficient incentives for the private sector to invest in developing solutions.
EC 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.”
The EC also called for harmonization across member states regulatory environments and certification schemes to further increase the attractiveness of the market for business-based cloud solutions. On the contracting side, it recommended that model ‘safe and fair’ contract terms be drawn up, including service level agreements. Two issues holding back adoption of cloud technology have been concerns over security and who owns the information stored in the cloud.