Cloud Computing is one of the welcomedevelopments sprouting from an ever-growing Internet. However, it also raisessome issues for citizens and businesses. Totake full advantage of the cloud's poten-tial, while protecting our citizens' inter-ests, Europe needs a cloud-friendly legalframework, and a cloud-active community of providers and users.Because if we can build trust for thisnew technology in the marketplace,growth and jobs will follow. The Commission's Cloud ComputingStrategy for Europe, which is being fi-nalised over the summer, will look at thefollowing three main areas:
1. THE SINGLE POLICY AREA FOR CLOUD COMPUTING
In terms of policy, Cloud Computingand the future evolutions of the Internetneed to be treated in a coherent way. TheEuropean Cloud Computing Strategy needs to be a framework to manage re-lated fields more efficiently, coherently and transparently.Because success in the cloud relies onlinking up a number of different areas. Weneed data protection laws that are clear,consistent, and show a passable way for- ward into the cloud – including when thecloud crosses borders to places with lesserlevels of protection. We need to offer legalclarity on issues like contractual terms, li-ability insurance and how to recover dataif a provider ceases to operate. We need tooffer consistency in consumer and userrights across Europe, so that users know what they are in for and providers don’thave to deal with the burden of 27 sepa-rate sets of rules. We need to make sure we have the skills and human capital forour continent to embrace the cloud. And we need to see how we can reduce the en- vironmental footprint – for examplethrough more efficient data centres andnetworks.If we get this right, we can ensure lawsand regulations fit the technological real-ity and development. That would benefitboth providers, and users.But this also means taking policy areaspreviously considered unrelated or frag-mented and joining them up; it meansmaking regulatory decisions more pre-dictable so investors aren't put off; itmeans a more homogenous set of rules in-ternationally; and it means an active andinnovative community out there develop-ing and deploying cloud computing inEurope.
2. THE EUROPEAN CLOUDPARTNERSHIP
The public sector in Europe can becomea lead market in demand for cloud com-puting. I have taken the first steps to setup a European Cloud Partnership, and will announce the head of that partner-ship hopefully before the summer holi-days. The purpose of this Partnershipbetween the Commission, public author-ities and industry is to start formalisingthe common public sector requirementsfor clouds: across Member States, acrossregions, and across the many different ap-plications like e-health, tax administra-tion, and welfare payments. Building onthis the public sector will benefit fromsimpler procurement of cloud services. Itshould also provide an important step to- ward coordinated and ultimately jointprocurement across administrative bor-ders. Let's face it: Each EU MemberState, on its own, is too small (and has toosmall an IT procurement budget) to makemuch of a difference globally, in this as inso many other fields. But together we pulla lot of weight. This should lead to re-duced costs for governments who need todeliver efficient and interoperable on-lineservices.
3. MEASURES TO STIMULATE AND AMPLIFY
Lastly, I am also working on a packageof measures to stimulate, amplify and re-inforce the effect of the above initiativeson the cloud.First, to support education and aware-ness about legal issues: standards, modelcontracts, data portability and so on. Sec-ond, by coordinating industrial and socialpolicies, we can help equip people withthe skills for a broader career and job mo-bility. This should provide the well-edu-cated workforce that the industry needs. And third, we must support European andnational research and innovation, to helpindustry build a critical mass of know-how so that current applications can mi-grate to the cloud, helpingcompetitiveness and giving a boost to in-novative new services to emerge. We need to act to unlock the economicgrowth potential of cloud computing forthe benefit of citizens and businessesalike. We cannot afford for eitherproviders or users to lose out. That is whatthe European cloud computing strategy must achieve and we will start "at home",in the public sector, to deliver a market forproviders, demonstrate the advantages tousers, and ensure that standards and tem-plates are available for to develop thisgrowing and dynamic market further.
The publicsector in Europecan become a leadmarket in demand forcloud computing