European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, has called on public authorities, industry, cloud buyers and suppliers to come together in a european cloud partnership.
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At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland Kroes, who is in charge of the Digital Agenda, said: “Cloud Computing will change our economy. It can bring significant productivity benefits to all, right through to the smallest companies, and also to individuals. It promises scalable, secure services for greater efficiency, greater flexibility, and lower cost,” she said.
Calling for action to support speedy uptake of cloud computing in Europe, Kroes said the main obstacles to cloud adoption like standards, certification, data protection, interoperability, lock-in, and legal certainty need to be addressed.
These issues are particularly troublesome for smaller companies, which stand to benefit the most from the Cloud, but do not have a lot of spending power, nor resources for individual negotiations with Cloud suppliers, said Kroes.
“Where these barriers exist, I am determined to overcome them,” she said.
Kroes said that while the EC’s proposed new rules for data protection, including for data in the cloud, had made a start on the regulatory side, a European Cloud Partnership was key to resolving the other main issues.
“In the first phase, the Partnership will come up with common requirements for Cloud procurement. For this it will look at standards; it will look at security; it will look at ensuring competition, not lock-in. In the second phase, the Partnership will deliver proof of concept solutions for the common requirements, and in the third phase, reference implementations will be built,” she said.
The EC will launch the European Cloud Partnership with an initial investment of €10m.
“I expect good progress in setting it up in 2012 and first results in 2013,” said Kroes.
The Partnership’s first task will be to create a strong common basis for cloud procurement by public authorities, which Kroes believes is crucial to establish standardised services and drive down costs through competition.
“We are already talking to potential partners and working on setting up this European Cloud Partnership. No doubt the concept will evolve as more details are fixed. These will be set out, together with other elements, in the European Cloud Computing Strategy later this year. A strategy as a whole to ensure Europe becomes not just Cloud-friendly, but Cloud-active,” she said.