Brussels bureaucrats have promised to boost the European economy by €160bn a year through the adoption of business-friendly cloud computing standards, which may be in place by as soon as 2013.
According to European Commission (EC) vice president Neelie Kroes, the rapid and trouble-free adoption of cloud computing is vital for Europe's long-term competitiveness.
To ease businesses' path to the cloud, the EC is proposing an European-wide certification scheme, the development of 'safe and fair' cloud contractual terms and a pan-European buying body, to drive down the cost of cloud deployments for public sector deployments.
“We need to think European. If we stick to a national approach with national rules, we will constrain the cloud to national borders. We shouldn't limit our ambition like that,” said Kroes.
“Only with a European approach can we find economies of scale, with benefits for cloud providers and consumers alike.”
The EC aims to define the technical standards that will facilitate cloud interoperability and data portability by 2013. Those standards are currently being drawn up by The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
Firms are putting off cloud adoption over uncertainties such as how customer data will be safeguarded, Kroes claimed. She believes standard contracts, outlining cloud suppliers responsibilities will help boost adoption.
Kroes added that the work the EC had already undertaken in harmonising data protection rules and its forthcoming cyber security strategy had laid the foundations for a successful cloud migration.
The EC believes that widespread adoption of cloud computing would create 2.5 million new jobs in Europe and boost the European economy by €160bn a year by 2020, as firms move to a faster, cheaper and more flexible approach to IT delivery.
Whether the EC approach proves a hit with businesses remains to be seen. Business lobby the CBI has been highly critical of its data protection amendments.