Digital Agenda: New strategy to drive European business and government productivity via cloud computing

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The European Commission’s new strategy for “Unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe” outlines actions to deliver a net gain of 2.5 million new European jobs, and an annual boost of EUR 160 billion to EU GDP (around 1%), by 2020.

The strategy is designed to speed up and increase the use of cloud computing across the economy.

‘Cloud computing’ refers to the storage of data (such as text files, pictures and video) and software on remote computers, which users access over the internet on the device of their choice. This is faster, cheaper, more flexible and potentially more secure than on-site IT solutions. Many popular services such as Facebook, Spotify and web-based email use cloud computing technologies but the real economic benefits come through widespread use of cloud solutions by businesses and the public sector.

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.

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.”

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.” Here to read more.

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